A huge cloud of smoke engulfed a Hobbit film set on the Miramar Peninsula when a generator caught fire.
Ed Scragg, who saw the fire from a Roseneath home on the other side of Evans Bay, said clouds of smoke engulfed a lighting tower on the set which has been built on land close to the old Mt Crawford Prison.
The lights went out and then came back on again, said Mr Scragg who said a number of fire trucks were seen racing to the scene.
The fire broke out just before nightfall at 5pm.
The fire service said they had to send several fire engines to the scene because it was not close to a water supply.
The fire engulfed a diesel fuel tank and generator and took about 20 minutes to put out.
''It definitely wasn't theatrical smoke,'' the fire service spokeswoman said.
The fire was at the scene of the gutted citadel film set.
It was understood to represent Dale, the town of men under Lonely Mountain, which gets scorched by Smaug the dragon and buildings on the set, built in a patch of bush, were made to look as though they had been gutted by fire.
Sir Peter Jackson's spokesman, Matt Dravitzki, said the site on Miramar Peninsula was prepared for a few days' filming as part of 10 weeks of final- cut shooting for the last two instalments of the trilogy.
The next Hobbit instalment, The Desolation of Smaug, is due in cinemas in December.
- Fairfax Media