Canterbury emergency crews on high alert as sweltering conditions pose fire threat

Fire crews in Canterbury remain on high alert for the coming week, with weather conditions posing a significant fire danger.

The region is currently sweltering under hot temperatures and gusty winds, and the conditions are as bad as firefighters had feared.

Authorities braced themselves on Sunday as the mercury pushed into the mid-30s and strong winds battered the area.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) rural fire manager Tim Mitchell said extra fire crews will remain on standby for the coming days.

"These really warm, really windy days like today and the coming days, particularly in Canterbury, are extreme fire conditions."

FENZ deputy rural fire officer Al Hutt added it could be "Armageddon".

"If we have a big fire, we are going to be struggling to deal with it."

Firefighting helicopters are also at the ready in case there are any blazes.

"We have the helicopter ready to go," helicopter pilot Mark Read said. "It's preflighted, fuelled up, we have the bucket available inside and we're all set to go." 

Emergency crews are only too aware that the two of the biggest fires in recent memory - the Port Hills fires and the Nelson fires - both broke out in the month of February.

"That's why we are being extra cautious and we're making sure when we get these events we're responding as quickly as we can - we are on high alert at the moment," Mitchell said.

And with conditions not meant to ease for several days, on high alert is where these fire crews are likely to remain.