SH1 reopened after large fire

Last updated 18:09 06/01/2014

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Emergency services have reopened part of State Highway 1 after sparks from a train started a large fire near the roadside.

A Fire Service spokesman said a series of small fires had been sparked by a train travelling near Chertsey, between Ashburton and Christchurch, about 2.26pm today.

One of the fires had spread into crops, turning into a large blaze, he said.

It was about 8 hectares wide, or the size of 15 rugby fields.

Firefighters from Ashburton, Dunsandel, Rakaia, Lauriston and Pendarves stations battled the fire using three pumps and six tankers.

Police closed State Highway 1, with a detour available via Somerton Rd in the south and Wilkinsons Rd in the north. The highway was now open and the fires all extinguished. Trains on the main south line had also been restarted after being stopped as a safety precaution.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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