Crews have managed to contain a large scrub fire in Southland, and about 20 firefighters remained at the scene tonight dampening down hot spots.

Firefighters were alerted just after 2.20pm to the fire at Awarua, about 25km south-west of Invercargill.

Up to four helicopters had been called in, as access to the site was difficult.

Southern Rural Fire Service community engagement officer Sally Chesterfield said these had now been stood down.

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Crews from the Invercargill City Council, the Department of Conservation, rural and city firefighters attended throughout the day.

Water was used from the nearby Waituna Lagoon and a local farmer's dam.

The fire had threatened two pine plantations nearby.