Whanganui and Ruapehu now has a total fire ban.
The ban comes into effect at 8am on Friday and means it is prohibited to light almost any kind of fire outdoors in Whanganui, Ruapehu and Taranaki, principal rural fire officer Nigel Dravitzki says.
Those areas were in a restricted fire season up until this morning. Neighbouring Rangitīkei, Palmerston North and Manawatū are to follow suit, moving to a total fire ban on February 12.
"It just reflects the risk that's out there in our landscape at the moment. The predicted weather forecast for the next 14 days looks pretty dry," Dravitzki said.
A total fire ban means it is illegal to light a fire of any kind, apart from gas barbecues, hāngi and umu. And Dravitzki advised people wanting to use them to go to the checkitsalright.nz website first, and get tips on how to keep them safe.
He hopes people will now reschedule any outdoor burning they want to do.
The main reason for the ban is the increased risk if a fire started now. But a quieter time would also help out the region's firefighters, who have had a busy week.
"A lot of our resources have been really tipped out over the past week, and a lot of them are volunteers."
Containing and extinguishing the Whanganui River Rd fire that started on February 2 was a good effort, he said. It will be monitored for another few days in case there are still hotspots.
He's glad the blaze was fought quickly and saved from spreading, and said it probably only burned a total of 15 to 20ha.
He hasn't had a report on its cause yet.
Dravitzki is off to Australia on Monday, to lead a strike team of 21 people from all over New Zealand in fighting fires in New South Wales. His team is to replace an earlier New Zealand contingent.