A complete fire ban has been imposed across the entire Marlborough and Kaikoura regions, for the first time in more than a decade.
It covers not only the traditionally dry south and east of the district but also the whole of the Marlborough Sounds.
Marlborough's Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer John Foley said the region was already extremely dry and the peak fire risk period was still to come.
He said with no rain in sight, it was the driest he had seen it in more than 14 years.
The ban covers all open fires including camp fires, chinese lanterns, pizza ovens, solid fuel barbeques and fires on the beach.
The only type of outdoor cooking allowed is on a gas-fired barbecue.
Mr Foley said anyone using equipment that may generate a lot of heat should take the utmost care as a spark could be lethal.