The Marlborough province is a tinderbox, with conditions similar to 2000 when a fire burned through the Wither Hills behind Blenheim, the rural fire chief warns.
Ross Hamilton says temperatures reached 37 degrees Celsius at Oamaka on Monday, with dry gusty winds.
He says there is a lot of dry grass about which could be easily ignited.
Mr Hamilton says people would be best not to go into the Wither Hills recreation area.
He says he is hoping that forecast rain eventuates in the next day or two.