Hawke's Bay is heading towards weather conditions not seen since the 1997 drought, which was the worst for the region on record.
Fire emergency management teams across the region are on alert, as there is no sign of substantial rain forecast for Christmas and New Year.
They are also warning any cost associated with fighting fires will be put back on to the land owner.
A total fire ban could be imposed on Central Hawke's Bay by Christmas as the rural district is shaping up to be the worst hit by the hot weather.
CHB district council's regulatory services manager Te Aroha Cook said the district was likely to move into a restricted fire season next week, which meant anyone wanting to light a fire must apply to the council for a permit. "Unless we get some significant and steady rain soon, it definitely looks like we will be heading into a prohibited fire season before Christmas."
No fires could be lit under a prohibited fire season. Any previous permits issued would be revoked.
"What we are seeing is called a green drought. While it looks green on top, there is very little in the way of feed underneath because the soil moisture is not there.
"The other concern we have around here is water availability because the dams, rivers and streams are significantly lower at this time of the year and they are lower than previous years at the moment.
"When we refer to what is called the seasonally severity track, basically we are tracking higher than 1997, which was when we had the worst drought on record."
Hastings deputy principal rural fire officer Gordon Foster said current weather conditions were ideal for fires to develop on rural properties.
"We are asking property owners to be absolutely sure that all existing fires are completely extinguished and a permit is obtained before any new fires are lit. Vegetation on the plains and in coastal areas is becoming very dry, which means extra care must be taken when dealing with incinerators, rubbish, cooking or outdoor fires of any sort."
Mr Foster said the open fire season continued in the Hastings district but there would be a close eye kept on the weather conditions. Fire bans would be imposed if the land and vegetation became too dry.
"Fires can cost lives and destroy property and if you light a fire which gets out of control, you may be held responsible for the cost of bringing it under control. Almost all rural fires are easily avoidable and we ask everyone to make sure you do all you can to prevent them."
Wairoa District Council deputy principal rural fire officer Don Scott said the fire danger at Mahia would be the focus as people headed to the beach for the summer break.
"We will be making a decision about any fire restrictions in Mahia in two or three weeks. It's looking pretty dry at the moment. We had some rain a few weeks ago but it's drying out rapidly. Whether or not we go into a restricted fire season depends on what the weather does over the next 10 days."
Tararua district principal rural fire officer Paddy Driver said it was dry out towards the coast and in the north and south of the district.
"But we're probably not as dry as Hastings or CHB. I want to reiterate that farmers need to be aware if they cause a fire, and we have to fight it, the cost goes back on them. If they need assistance or advice, give us a ring."
People are asked to report any unattended fires by dialing 111.