Fire crews are battling what appears to be a large grass fire in Whatawhata this afternoon.

The vegetation fire started on a bank near the end of Karikariki Rd in Whatawhata, west of Hamilton.

A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said two fire engines from Hamilton and two water tankers from Pirongia and Te Awamutu attended the fire just before 3pm.

The fire was 200m by 50m.

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The fire started in at least three different spots before merging into one.

A resident told the Herald police and fire trucks were travelling towards the fire at about 3.30pm. The fire could be seen clearly from the road.

The fire was now contained and had been cut off, the spokesman said.