Rain not enough to change fire danger

Rural fire authorities say recent rain has not changed fire levels across the country.

Lack of rain has produced drought-like conditions in many areas, including Northland, Auckland, Waikato and parts of Canterbury.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand's manager of rural fire, Tim Mitchell said given how dry conditions have been, the rain experienced over the past few days had not been enough to lower the wildfire risk to the point fire restrictions could be eased.

"There is still plenty of dead dry vegetation around. After the rain stops, warm and windy conditions quickly dry the vegetation again meaning there is still a great deal of fuel for fires," said Mitchell.

"Even though there has been some rain, the fire seasons have not changed. We want everyone to continue to be careful - one spark is all it takes to start a fire."

Fire and Emergency was continuing to monitor the conditions closely as further rain was possible for some areas of the country later this week.

"Please pay attention to the fire season in your area. If you are in an area where there is a total fire ban, no fires are permitted - including rubbish fires."

Meanwhile there was some encouraging news for farmers who have been struggling with the dry conditions.

WeatherWatch is predicting that the high-pressure systems associated with summer's light winds and clear skies was beginning to break, meaning rain was a possibility.

"Rain-makers will form around the separating highs in March, signalling the prospect of welcome downpours," said head forecaster Philip Duncan.