Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua have joined Whanganui in declaring a restricted fire season.

From 1am on Wednesday permits will be required for all open-air fires except for barbecues lit in properly constructed containers and fuelled with gas or liquid fuel and properly constructed incinerators with lid, flue and ash pan.

Meanwhile the 3km coastal strip along the three districts is in a prohibited fire season.

In all other areas, permits will only be issued for essential land management operations during normal office hours after allowing time for an inspection by a rural fire officer.

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There was record low rainfall in some parts of the district in December and principal rural fire officer Paul Chaffe said all data monitored pointed to elevated risk and the need for the restriction. It will be in place until further notice.

"It's really hard to say, it changes day by day," Mr Chaffe said.

"We haven't really recorded any significant rainfall."

He said so far this summer had been relatively quiet.

All inquiries about fire restrictions should be made by calling local district council offices.