With little, if any, rain likely in the next week the total fire ban for the Horizons region is staying in place.
Principal rural fire officer Brent Fanning said the rain that fell this week was not enough to downgrade the ban, which would next be reassessed after Easter.
"The rain we received was really only enough to provide temporary relief to the high fire danger, as opposed to cancelling the threat," Mr Fanning said.
MetService forecaster John Law said the weather would remain settled over Manawatu for the next week or so, though there was the possibility of isolated rain.
"You may get quite isolated showers Tuesday, but not a great amount."
Rain was forecast at times in the next week for parts of the South Island, Mr Law said, but a high over the North Island would likely prevent much of it from coming north.
Mr Fanning said some exceptions would be made to the fire ban for crop farmers, but only under special conditions.
"Rural fire authorities will issue special permits to crop farmers needing to carry out stubble burns as these burns only involve fine fuel and are not of long duration.
"Landowners will need to have a six-metre fire break in place and some form of fire fighting resource on site such as a vehicle-mounted spray unit."
The extended dry period and extremely dry conditions have kept rural fire officers busy with 371 fire permits issued for the Ruapehu, Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua districts since January 1.
Each permit requires a visit to the proposed site to access potential risk and check what is going to be burnt.
"Since January rural fire officers have attended 35 incidents, which gives you an idea of how dry things are and how easy it is for things to get out of control," Mr Fanning said.
"One burn-off we attended near Hunterville this month would have been a routine exercise last year, but this year it took on a life of its own and had to be contained. This incident involved considerable resources and man hours.
"We've also attended four fires on the main train line near Taihape which started after rail staff were grinding down the track. These incidents generally prove difficult to access and are labour intensive so have in some cases taken hours to get back under control," he said.
Mr Fanning said until the ban was lifted the whole community needed to keep an eye out for smoke or anything suspicious.
"If you see anything that looks strange, call 111," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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