A scrub fire that threatened buildings near the Spa Thermal Park in Taupo may have been lit deliberately.
Several fire engines, water tankers and a helicopter with a monsoon bucket brought the blaze on County Avenue under control - but only after it had destroyed about five hectares of trees and scrub.
The fire was reported about 2.30pm on Monday. For a time, flames were dangerously close to some industrial buildings and the Spa Hotel had to be evacuated.
Taupo District Council's principal rural fire officer says he doesn't think the fire was started by accident, as it originated in a bush area near the middle of the park.
Phil Parker says it was very difficult to bring the blaze under control and fire crews are dampening down hot spots on Monday night.