Experts predict continuing dry for much of the Pacific

The monthly climate update for the Pacific says Fiji and Tonga are expected to receive below normal rainfall over the next three months.

This comes after up to six months of well below normal rainfall had been received.

The forecast from New Zealand's NIWA and the Pacific Islands Meteorological Services says in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, after three months of very dry conditions, below normal rainfall can be expected through to the end of the year.

And it says New Caledonia can expect the below drier condition of recent months to continue through October to December.

It says countries in the central Pacific, such as Tuvalu and Kiribati, can expect little water stress in the next few months.

New Caledonia bans fires territory-wide

New Caledonia has declared a fire ban until further notice.

The president, Philippe Germain, has ordered that all fires outside private homes are banned territory-wide after determining that there is an extreme fire risk.

The authorities fear that the practice of burning back bush could spark uncontrollable fires.

Last year, New Caledonia declared a fire ban in late November.