Three helicopters and more than 30 fire service, forestry and volunteer firefighters were involved battling a blaze which spread uphill through a young forestry plantation near Havelock North on Monday afternoon.

Fire Emergency New Zealand received multiple calls about 3.30pm, when the fire and smoke were able to be seen from across Hastings, but principal rural fire officer Trevor Mitchell said about 6pm it was under control and two of the helicopters had been stood down.

It was estimated to have spread over about 20 hectares, including some pasture, highlighting the continued dry conditions as a full fire ban remains in Hawke's Bay into late-March.

It was suspected the fire started from a spark spread from machinery working in the area.