Fire crews from Ashburton and Timaru worked from 4am today to deal with a container load of burning sleepers at Wilsons Bulk Transport, Tinwald.
The sleepers were being heat-treated for the Ministry for Primary Industries when some caught fire.
Fire officers said some sleepers may have had creosote on them.
The container, near silos, contained the fire, and crews were working until after 8am to remove the smouldering timber.
The Salvation Army brought its caravan after 8am to feed the hungry firefighters.