Fire crew spent the afternoon battling a large blaze at a forestry block near the former Wakatipu High School.

Emergency services were called to reports of fire in the forest about 4.30pm, at Bowen St between the high school and an industrial area.

A southern Fire and Emergency spokesman said the fire was under control but at its peak six fire trucks and three helicopters were on scene.

Fire crew are still on scene. It wasn't immediately clear how it started, the spokesman said.

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The blaze had spread over a 50m by 30m area and a witness said the conditions were "windy and tinder dry".

A police spokesman confirmed police has also been called to the scene.