Rotorua Fire Service Senior Station Officer Jim Prescott said firefighters were called to the large fire, which initially engulfed about 100sq m of scrub off Te Ngae Rd, near Cookson Rd, about 3.30pm on Saturday.
Mr Prescott said the fire spread rapidly, ripping through a total of about 150m by 450m of bush, so extra fire crews were called to help.
Five water tankers, five fire engines, a command unit, along with a helicopter with a monsoon bucket, had been used to get the fire under control.
Between 30-40 firefighters were on the ground working to contain the blaze, with many staying overnight to keep watch. There were a few buildings in the area and, while they were not evacuated, fire crews worked to protect them from the flames, Mr Prescott said.
Nearby residents Tim Jevon and his fiancee Jayne Woolley were the first to alert the Fire Service to the blaze.
They came home about 3.30pm and smelled smoke. Initially, Mr Jevon thought the smell was coming from somewhere in his house, until he stepped outside to see smoke pouring out from a neighbouring stretch of land.
"I could see this stream of thick smoke just billowing from the property. It was coming towards us, the ash too."
Mr Jevon said the smoke became thicker and soon he could see the flames.
"The flames were huge, they were at least 20ft tall, the smoke was even higher.
"I soon went from being caught up in all the excitement to thinking about packing up our possessions and throwing Jayne, who's torn a ligament, over my shoulder and fleeing to safety."
Luckily it didn't have to come to that, he said.
"I would hate to think what would have happened if we didn't come home when we did. We're quite far away from any neighbours and w are not sure anyone else would have called the Fire Service."
Mr Prescott said fire crews were investigating the cause of the fire.
The fire came just over a week after a bush fire in the same area, which tore through about 80m by 30m of gorse.