Four houses have burned down in a large, explosive scrub fire south of Whitianga.
Six Fire Service crews, several rural brigades and three helicopters have been battling the blaze, which covers about eight hectares, at Comers Rd, Kaimarama.
People were evacuated from the houses before they burned down. Other houses under threat have been evacuated.
Northern Fire Service spokesman Colin Underwood believed the Wilderland organic farm and sustainable living community had also been evacuated.
Fire crews are setting up to battle the fire - which can be seen from much of Whitianga.
Underwood said there was a southwest wind blowing which was making it difficult to get the fire under control.
Nearby resident Thomas Everth has been watching the massive fire.
"It's explosive. There's flames which stretch 1km. It doesn't look like choppers are making much of difference."
Everth said there were strong winds at present. "It's hot and dry, and windy. It's such a shame.
"It's a wonderful area with big trees. There's a few lifestyle properties that are pretty close to the fire."
Cassidy Dawson-Tobich is also watching the blaze.
"It's pretty huge. The whole hillside is lit up. There's still little explosions happening."
David Bell has been watching it from a motel in Whitianga.
He said it was "ferocious and spreading".
"It's lit up the sky here, it's quite a sight, but hopefully these helicopters can get it under control pretty soon.
Another Herald reader said a whole part of the sky was lit orange and the fire could be seen from most places in Whitianga.