Seven fire crews and a helicopter have brought a large fire north of Pines Beach in Canterbury under control.

At its peak the fire was believed to be 1km in length and had 11 crews working to contain it.

Fire crews headed to the fire just before 2.30am after reports of flames flickering above the trees.

Fire communications shift manager Tim Reynolds said crews had the fire surrounded on all sides and were now in the "mop up stage".

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"It was 1km in length at its height and now they've contained it to about 300m by 100m." he said.

Mr Reynolds said it wasn't yet known what caused the blaze.