Whanganui could be facing fire restrictions soon if much-needed rain doesn't arrive.

Deputy principal rural fire officer for Whanganui, Gavin Pryce, said the dry conditions in the district were what he'd expect to see at the end of December.

Mr Pryce said inland Whanganui had had some good downpours during November, but coastal areas were particularly dry.

"There's been no rain at all, and it's not looking there will be any for at least two weeks."


Mr Pryce said daily monitoring of the fire risk started in mid-November - about three weeks to a month earlier than usual.

He said Whanganui's fire risk was raised from low to moderate during the week, and would almost certainly rise further. There is still an open fire season in place (except for the permanent restricted fire season in the strip of land between the coast, SH3, the Whanganui River and the Whangaehu River).

"There will be a management meeting next week to discuss whether to bring in a restricted fire season," Mr Pryce said.

During November, Whanganui received just 24.8mm of rain - considerably less than the 102mm that fell on Whanganui in November 2016.

The average rainfall for Whanganui in November is 75mm. Since November 8 - when the last substantial rain fell in Whanganui - there has been just 1.4mm of rain.

Alan Taylor owns cereal, silage and sheep farms at Westmere and Maxwell, and he said some of his crops that have been in the ground for a few weeks have seen no moisture at all.

"Some of our crops went in late because we had such a wet spring, and now there's no growth because it's too dry."

He said farmers in coastal areas of the district were already noticing the dry conditions.


"I expect dairy farmers will be starting to worry because it will be affecting their grass growth.

"It's early for it to get dry, and that's not good."

Mr Taylor said warm temperatures during November had made the situation worse.

"Because it's been warm, that's meant greater evaporation from the ground. If it had stayed cool it wouldn't have been so bad."

Whanganui District Council's emergency manager, Timothy Crowe, said calm, humid conditions meant soil was quite stable.

"But the vegetation is obviously browning, especially when compared to last year's early summer season, which was wetter."

Mr Crowe said despite the dry weather, there aren't any water restrictions in the Whanganui district at present. He urged people to use water responsibly.

"Please don't leave taps running, or unnecessarily use sprinklers of irrigation systems and fix up any water leaks around your property. If we all use water sensibly, we can avoid restrictions being imposed," he said.

The recent warm weather has seen Horizons Regional Council lift the health risk status of Dudding's Lake and Lake Wiritoa to amber.

Barry Gilliland from Horizons said this means the lakes can still be used for recreational purposes but care must be taken.

"Our standard advice to avoid any surface scum should they occur and mix the lake around using a motor boat before contact recreation is more relevant under these circumstances," Mr Gilliland said.