A total of 11 fire trucks from across Hawke's Bay attended a large "suspicious" scrub fire at an orchard on the outskirts of Hastings on Wednesday.
Emergency services were called to the fire between Longlands Rd and Riverslea Road at about 10.42pm, which destoryed about 70-metres of shelterbelt.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokeswoman said the fire is believed to have started in the shelterbelt.
A total of 11 fire trucks - four from Hastings, two from Napier, one from Havelock North and four rural fire appliances – attended the blaze.
The Longlands Rd property owner and former Hawke's Bay regional councillor Kevin Rose said he was unaware the side of his orchard was alight until a neighbour alerted him.
"It looked like a fireball - like a volcano exploding," he said.
Rose is preparing to move out of his home of 37 years later this week, with new owners set to move in.
He said the new owners have been notified of the fire.
"They not happy, nor am I," he said. "It looks suspicious, that seems to be the general conclusion."
According to firefighters at the scene, the fire was put out by 1.30am on Thursday.
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokeswomen said two fire trucks returned to dampen down the hot spots at 6.45am on Thursday.
Firefighter Craig Parsons said despite Wednesday night's downpour, the flames were big enough to be seen from afar.
"There's some social media footage of how big the flames were before we got there," he said.
Parsons said the hedge on fire didn't seem to absorb Wednesday evening's thunderstorm.
"It was a mature hedge that was on fire. They contain lots of pine needles and there would've been a lot of build up so the rain wouldn't've penetrated the hedge."
Parsons added: "It seems surprising though, with all the rain we had. And there was no obvious indication of the cause."
The fire is under investigation.
Whilst the flames didn't reach a cluster of nearby trees, some were damaged due to the heat.
Rose said he was anxious the fire would spread over to the house.