Northland firefighters have battled more than 100 preventable fires this summer and, despite a touch of rain, FENZ is urging people to be mindful of the fire bans in the upper North Island.

It comes as Auckland's water provider says total water storage would have dropped below 25 per cent by now if not for a Waikato plant that is maximising its production.

For Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) region manager Ron Devlin it goes without saying the land across the upper North Island is still very, very dry - there are hills that are "just golden. It's a big concern for us."

In Northland alone, firefighters have attended more than 100 preventable fires during this fire season.

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The number of vegetation fires across Auckland and Northland this summer fire season, December 2019–February 2020, has increased over 80 per cent compared with the same period the year prior.

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The prohibitive fire season - or total fire ban - has been in place since January 9 in Northland and January 24 in Auckland.

"It's quite a considerable amount of time, which is quite unusual," Devlin said.

He said people should avoid using a chainsaw or mowing the lawns, especially during the afternoons within the hottest hours of the day.

Just a spark could cause a devastating wildfire.

The country experienced this last year when a tractor driver ploughing a dry, stony paddock sent flames leaping across hillsides near Nelson.

The resulting fire burned out of control for days and destroyed or damaged 2300ha of pine forest.

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Fire and Emergency New Zealand regional manager Ron Devlin pictured with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Dean Purcell
Fire and Emergency New Zealand regional manager Ron Devlin pictured with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Dean Purcell

It is exactly the kind of event Devlin said they were trying to avoid in Northland and Auckland.

But even with the total fire ban in place there have been instances of avoidable fires resulting from cooking or burning rubbish.

Devlin said they just wanted people to keep safe and be mindful of others.

While in the past couple of days there had been a little bit of rain it was important for Northlanders and Aucklanders to appreciate there was still a full fire ban in place, he said.

"Really as soon as we can, we will back off from the prohibitive season and move back into a restrictive season but we need to hold tight for now.

"You look out the window, it's a blue sky - it's pretty hot out there. Any rain that has been had in the past couple of days is well and truly gone."

A Watercare spokeswoman said total water storage was at 62 per cent.

"We have been able to preserve the water in our dams by maximising production at our Waikato Water Treatment Plant," she said.

"Without this plant, our total water storage would have dropped below 25 per cent by now."

Auckland was experiencing a "severe drought" and, therefore, it was very important that everyone used water wisely.

Mangatangi Dam in the Hūnua Ranges on February 25, 2020. Photo / Watercare
Mangatangi Dam in the Hūnua Ranges on February 25, 2020. Photo / Watercare

"While we welcomed the rain this week, it provided only light relief," she said.

"Our gauges measured around 10mm in the Hunua and Waitakere ranges, whereas we normally receive around 25mm a week at this time of year.

"While it hasn't had a big impact on our water storage levels, it has helped to reduce demand."

This week, demand had dropped to around 510 to 515 million litres a day whereas it had been much higher a few weeks ago. In mid-February, Aucklanders consumed 568 million litres in a single day.

The spokeswoman said reducing household water use was as easy as keeping showers short and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth.