A fire that burnt a shed and threatened a house before spreading into scrub in Northland was quickly brought under control by helicopters.

Firefighters were initially unsuccessful in gaining access to a road in Kaeo to fight the fire and were forced to use two helicopters with four-wheel-drives on stand-by.

Fire crews from Kaeo, Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Mangonui were called to two locations just after 3pm yesterday after reports of smoke in the area.

A spokesman for the New Zealand Fire Service northern region said two helicopters and four-wheel-drives were called after fire crews could not enter Matawherohia Rd in Kaeo.

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Another crew was attending to reports of smoke along Waiare Rd in Kaeo.

The spokesman said limited availability of water further compounded their problem.

The fire on steep land burnt 1.5 hectares before it was brought under control about 5.15pm.

A crew stayed behind to mop up.