Rotorua District Council deputy principal fire officer Richard Horn at a scrub fire in Waikite Valley last week. The rural fire danger for the region is now extreme. Photo/Stephen Parker
Pumicelands Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Paul Wright said the forest fire danger level was "extreme" right across the Central North Island.
"All sectors from Waihou Bay to Tauranga, Turangi and over to Tokoroa are all in the extreme.
"The worst most volatile areas are in the Galatea Valley area, which is more than twice the top level [of fire danger]," he said.
"Next is the Taupo/Tauhara region in the forests north of Taupo and also at Kinleith near Tokoroa."
Mr Wright said all fires and fire permits had been banned or cancelled in those areas and if anyone saw smoke or flames to immediately call 111.
He said all fire permits were cancelled last week. "We need significant rain, in the region of 20mm, to pull this back."
He said the ban also extended to all DoC land in the region.
In the Rotorua region there have been at least five vegetation fires in the last two weeks.
"Any fire could be a problem, fortunately we have had no significant fires due to quick notification from the public," Mr Wright said.
"Most of the fires we have had are due to carelessness of the public.
"Even before the total fire ban was put in place we have had a restricted fire ban since December, meaning you needed a permit for any fire.
"The fires we have had are due to people ignoring the ban, usually the less responsible people among us.
"Anyone starting a fire in a rural area should not be and it should be reported."