Emergency fire services continued to battle a large rural fire in Hawke's Bay yesterday which was first reported about 2pm on Monday.

And it could continue to burn for a week.

The fire, located in steep hill country between Te Pohue and Puketitiri, had grown to about 190ha yesterday despite the efforts of fire services.

Six helicopters poured water on to the blaze while ground crews were dropped in to attack hotspots with shovels.

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The ground crews dug out hotspots for the helicopters which, taking water from the Ripia River, then doused with water.

About 20 firefighters worked on the ground and were pulled out about 6pm, while helicopters continued until 7pm.

As crews worked to contain the fire yesterday afternoon the temperature slowly dropped and Hawke's Bay received some much-welcomed rain.

Hastings District Council principal rural fire officer Trevor Mitchell said the change in weather was "all good news".

"The temperature had dropped from 32 degrees this morning to 22 degrees this afternoon, and we've got a few spots of rain," he said.

However Mr Mitchell said it would still be a "very difficult, long, slow job" to fully extinguish the fire.

He expected fire crews would be on the ground for at least a week, possibly longer.

"It's burning in old man beech that's been dead a long time," he said.

Mohaka Rafting employee Sarah Stinson said yesterday afternoon the area had received some "much needed rain".

"We just had a pretty big front roll in. It's pouring with rain right now," she said.

Ms Stinson said although she had seen smoke yesterday the business, located on State Highway 5, was not affected.

Helicopters and ground crews were expected back at the scene today, however the Hastings Rural Fire Authority planned to reduce the number of helicopters to three if possible.

A fire investigator has arrived in Hawke's Bay to begin an inquiry into the cause of the blaze.