Keep the fireworks in the box this New Year's Eve and go to public displays. That's the strong message from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, especially in dry areas.
"It's a big drain on our volunteer and career firefighters and frankly they can do with a break," says Richard McNamara, who is regional manager rural for Tasman, Marlborough-Kaikoura, the West Coast, North Canterbury, Christchurch and South Canterbury.
He said it was dry in the east and top of the South Island and the east of the lower North Island.
There had been some rain between Christmas and New Year but not enough to relieve the fire danger.
Mr McNamara said flares released from boats were also a danger. They burned for several minutes and could drift into areas with flammable vegetation.
Insurance companies had the option of chasing people who started fires that caused damage, he said.
"It can cost you a lot."
He also said bonfires could easily get out of control.
"The message would be certainly enjoy New Year but be careful in areas with ignition sources, particularly in areas that are already under the effects of drought conditions or have a high fire risk."
Mr McNamara expected winds will pick up later on Sunday from Marlborough down to eastern Christchurch.