Twenty firefighters are battling a large scrub fire near Te Anau in Southland.

The fire in the Mount Prospect area has burnt through just over 1300 hectares of land, which includes private forestry blocks as well as some Department of Conservation land.

The blaze broke out yesterday afternoon when a burn-off got out of control at Mount Prospect, about 10 kilometres west of Te Anau.

Nine helicopters were used to fight it yesterday, along with urban and rural firefighters on the ground.

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Six helicopters are today using buckets to drop water onto inaccessible areas to support ground crews.

Principal Rural fire officer Elton Smith said firefighters are also tackling the fire on the ground.

He said they're working with hand tools, digging up hot spots and suppressing areas that are actively burning.