Whanganui rural fire fighters have taken possession of a fire truck which can carry a massive 6000 litres of water - just in time for summer.

The medium rural tanker was blessed by Ratana apotoro rehita (minister) Whitiora Paterangi on Tuesday.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand provided "a beautiful service", he said.

Having lots of water quickly available could save a house, or prevent a vegetation fire spreading, acting principal rural fire officer for Whanganui, Ruapehu and Taranaki, Gavin Pryce said.

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The tanker replaces an older vehicle which will now be based in Taumarunui.

The Whanganui tanker is one of 23 to be rolled out across New Zealand. Photo / Bevan Conley
The Whanganui tanker is one of 23 to be rolled out across New Zealand. Photo / Bevan Conley

The tanker is one of 23 being built for New Zealand. They are more modern and fit for purpose than the rural service's "old fleet".

Urban fire trucks carry only 1300 litres of water, and rely on hydrants for more. The rural tanker will join them, when needed.

"If there's low water pressure at hydrants or distance is a problem they can quickly get to work with one of these," Pryce said.

In future when there is a rural fire the two fire crews at the Whanganui station will probably send one pump with one crew, and also half of the second crew in the new tanker. If it's a long job and they need more backup then rural firefighters will be paged and head off in a 4WD or utility.

Under climate change temperatures are likely to be hotter, humidity is likely to be lower and there is likely to be more wind - all conditions that make fire more dangerous.

"Vegetation fires are becoming more frequent and more difficult to control. We need to be prepared," Pryce said.