Fire crews have contained a "sizeable" bush fire in Napier, which threatened three properties, and set 20ha ablaze.

Fire services were called to Puketapu just after midday. A witness said it looked like both sides of rural Dartmoor Rd were on fire.

A Fire Service spokeswoman said the fire threatened three properties.

Additional fire crews from Heretaunga, Rissington, and Puketitri had been called to assist, and seven fire engines, four water tankers, and a helicopter were fighting the blaze.

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The fire spread from covering around 5ha to 20ha by the time it was contained. The spokeswoman said crews would be at the scene well into the evening.

She said several power poles in the area had "burned through completely".

A Rissington resident - whose property was not affected by the fire - said there was "lots of smoke, and fire trucks for Africa" at the scene. ​

At this stage, she said they believed the occupants of the affected properties, and their pets, were all safe.

This was the second grass fire in the area in as many weeks.

This afternoon services were called to another grass fire, this one in Central Hawke's Bay.

Services were called to Tikokino just before 2pm to control a scrub fire covering an area of 5ha. It has since been contained.

Like much of Hawke's Bay, Napier is tinder dry as an extended dry heatwave continues to surge over the region.

Today the expected high for Napier is 30C. Metservice meteorologist Tom Adams said temperatures had only reached 28.5C so far, but "they're still on the rise".

Hastings had reached temperatures of 26C, with an expected high of 32C.

A Weather Watch spokesman said the East Coast was enduring "drier than average conditions", with little rain, and conditions are not expected to change soon.

Longer-range but less reliable models showed the potential for rain for some eastern areas in about two weeks, but he said confidence was minimal at this stage.

"For now the east of the North Island and Northland are in an extended dry heatwave with highs in to the low to mid 30s at times."

On January 22 fire crews battled another grass fire in the area, where strong winds up to 160km/h were blamed for fanning the large grass fires. ​