The fire broke out on a section of land on the corner of Te Ngae Rd/State Highway 30 and Cookson Rd about 4pm yesterday.
It was one of two bush fires that broke out in the region yesterday afternoon.
Rotorua Fire Brigade senior station officer Colin Rolfe said the fire tore through about 80m by 30m of gorse and additional crews were called to help contain it.
Part of State Highway 30 was closed for about 15 minutes while a hose was dragged across it to reach the fire, with traffic on the northbound lane backing up as far as the Tarawera Rd intersection.
Mr Rolfe said it appeared the fire had started following a small bonfire that was lit too close to the scrub.
Because of the wind and its close proximity to the gorse, the fire quickly spread.
"With bonfires there are certain laws that you have to adhere to. One of which is not to light a fire less than 3m from anything that might combust or catch fire," he said.
"In this case this wasn't followed."
Mr Rolfe said it was a timely reminder for people to take extra care in the warmer months.
"The conditions are getting very dry already, it just goes to show, coming into summer, that you need to watch what you're doing."
Fire crews also worked to contain another blaze, a large bush fire in Kawerau's Monika Lanham Reserve, about 2pm yesterday. Bursts of orange flame and plumes of smoke could be seen from most parts of the mill town, according to residents.
Fire crews were investigating.