Fire crews are working desperately to control a growing fire in the Manawatū Tangimoana forest.
The blaze - on Lake Rd, Ōroua Downs - has been raging near Himatangi Beach since about 6pm last night.
The latest update released by fire authorities said six helicopters and about 50 personnel working at the scene.
Those include firefighters on the ground and heavy machinery operators.
"The fire is now 45ha in size," an 11.30am update said.
Fire authorities said about 7am today that the flames had spread to about 40ha as of this morning. It was initially about 7ha.
Winds expected to pick up late this morning had not eventuated and conditions were looking good, FENZ said.
Locals were being warned that the weather conditions may cause smoke drift.
"People are asked to take care when passing through Lake Rd so emergency services can work safely."
The local Himatangi Beach Volunteer Fire Brigade is among those working at the scene.
People warned to stay away
"For safety reasons, can all locals please ensure that they stay out of the dunes and forestry between Himatangi and Tangimoana until further notice," a note on the Himatangi Beach Volunteer Fire Brigade Facebook page said late last night.
Meanwhile, campers preparing to head out to the area for the long Waitangi weekend were told by the Himatangi Beach Holiday Park to stay away.
"Hey campers, please don't head into the dunes or forestry between Himatangi and Tangimoana this weekend.
"She is a pretty big job!"
Himatangi resident Victoria Edmonds said last night that the sound of helicopters was constant.