Firefighters spent nearly four hours battling an "intense" blaze at a coastal Bay of Plenty camping area.

Whakatāne Rural Fire controller Alan Keeber said crews from Matata, Edgecumbe and Whakatāne were called to the vegetation fire at Graham Conn Park about 5.30pm yesterday.

The fire took hold of a large patch of vegetation on the coastal side of the lagoon.

"It was obviously quite an intense burn," Keeber said.

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Strong winds made it challenging for firefighters to control the fire. They were at the scene until about 9pm, he said.

"The wind was driving the fire. It would have kept going."

The fire was based in vegetation and sand dunes, he said.

The cause of the fire was still unknown at this stage.

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