Firefighters in rural Canterbury have contained a large scrub fire which forced the closure of State Highway 7 in the Lewis Pass.

A spokesman for Fire and Emergency New Zealand told the Herald crews were tasked with battling 10-metre long flames.

Emergency services were first called at 3.10pm but it took fire crews around 40 minutes to arrive on the scene.

The FENZ spokesman said two helicopters arrived on the scene first and were soon assisted on the ground by fire crews.

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The scrub fire burnt through vegetation on a 150m by 18m area on a steep hill off SH7 before it was contained.

Recent weather conditions in the Canterbury region meant there was "good vegetation" for scrub fires to burn, the spokesman said.

The road remains closed between the Hanmer turnoff to Springs Junction on SH7.

Meanwhile, emergency services have closed the southbound lane of State Highway 1 at Paekakariki due to a crash.

Emergency services tackling the Lewis Pass have closed the road due to a fire. Photo / NZTA
Emergency services tackling the Lewis Pass have closed the road due to a fire. Photo / NZTA

Police report the crash involved a truck and two cars, the incident taking place at 4.50pm today. Several people have received moderate to minor injuries.

The NZ Transport Agency report the incident took place at the intersection with SH1 and Beach Rd and emergency services are currently on site.

The NZ Transport Agency is asking motorists to expect significant delays and to consider delaying their journey.

Elsewhere, a fallen tree on State Highway 1 near Kaiapoi temporarily forced the closure of southbound lanes this afternoon.

Both southbound lanes have been reopened but congestion remains in the area and motorists are being told to expect delays.