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A large scrub fire that endangered buildings in Taupo yesterday has been extinguished.
The blaze, which forced the evacuation of the Spa Hotel, destroyed about 3ha of vegetation before being brought under control.
A Fire Service spokesman said the blaze was extinguished about 4.30pm yesterday.
Staff and 18 guests of the hotel watched from several hundred metres away as smoke billowed into the air and wind whipped the flames towards the pub.
"Police rushed down and said 'go, go, go. Grab your wallet and go'," lessee Scott Rinkin said.
"We told everyone to jump in their cars and go."
The fire is being treated as suspicious.
Northern communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said firefighters were called to 33 vegetation fires between midnight and 8pm yesterday.
He said extreme care was needed as firefighters faced tinderbox conditions in much of the country.