November was officially the driest on record in Rotorua.

Only 24.2mm of the normal 114mm of rainfall for November was recorded by the Springfield weather observatory for Rotorua and firefighters are warning people enjoying the fine weather to be extra careful when having barbecues or smoking.

Throughout the weekend, firefighters were called to several fires in the region.

Springfield weatherman Brian Holden said it was the driest month on record since figures were kept, with the last driest November recorded in 2005 with only 39mm of rainfall recorded.


November was drier and cooler than normal this year with average temperatures of 13.6C recorded throughout the month, Mr Holden said. "It's supposed to be a pretty good summer by the sound of things."

Normally in Rotorua November's average temperatures are around 14.2C.

The extremely dry weather added with high winds had resulted in many vegetation fires throughout the region recently, the fire service says.

Rotorua chief fire officer Graham Fuller warned people to be cautious as there was a Rotorua District Council and Rural Fire Authority fire ban across the entire region.

"It's pretty dry out there at the moment ... there is a total fire ban on at the moment."

On Saturday, firefighters throughout the region attended many vegetation fires, including one behind the Challenge Service Station in Malfroy Rd.

High winds added to the tinder-dry conditions were causing real concern, Mr Fuller said.

"With the constant winds, everything is drying out really quickly. People need to adhere to the rules because these strong winds are just drying out everything. Ground moisture is low."


People lighting barbecues needed to ensure they were in sheltered areas away from the wind and ensure ashes were totally doused in water if gas wasn't being used, Mr Fuller said.

"They need to make sure the fire is totally out and the embers aren't left to blow around. Extinguish everything properly."

Don't use accelerants like petrol or diesel to start a barbecue either.

As for smokers, don't throw your butts out the car window.

"They can blow into long grass and the next thing you know we have a vegetation fire blowing out of control."

Ashes of any type needed to be doused in water, Mr Fuller said.

However, the weather won't be dry for much longer with a front crossing the country from the Tasman Sea.

MetService forecaster Brooke Lockheart said it was looking like a wet and humid week.