Four houses are being threatened by a large scrub fire in Dunedin this afternoon.

Police received multiple calls after large plumes of smoke were seen coming from the dunes off Brighton Rd, Ocean View, shortly before 3pm, Fire Service southern communications shift manager Riwai Grace said.

Two fire engines responded and, upon seeing the scale of the fire, called for backup.

Two helicopters and four more crews, as well as rural resources, were dispatched.

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"We have a 200 - 300m fire front of scrub burning behind at least four residential properties. We have multiple crews trying to contain the blaze and obviously stopping it getting to the houses," Grace said.

Police had evacuated the houses of residents.

There was no indiction what had caused the fire at this stage, or whether it was related to Guy Fawkes fireworks.