'Do not light fires': Fire and Emergency's stark warning as hot temperatures sweep the country

'Do not light fires' - that's the warning from Fire and Emergency (FENZ) as their crews work to battle two separate blazes in Christchurch on Monday.

Fire crews and helicopters were called in to battle a large scrub fire in Redcliffs around 1:30pm on Monday. Within half an hour, it had spread up the valley.

"I came home to try and dampen things down and make sure our place doesn't catch fire," a Christchurch resident said.

Another fire on Monday destroyed two sheds at Pine Beach, north of Christchurch.

Residents were asked to evacuate as 18 crews and three helicopters worked to tackle the blaze and protect five properties under threat.

Fire crews are holding their breath for the week ahead.

"Strong winds, high temperatures… not a good recipe," FENZ rural fire specialist Graeme Still told Newshub.

Sweltering temperatures are expected to sweep the East Coast this week.

The message is not to light any fires at all, and hold off on other jobs that could cause a spark.

"So that's mowing, grinding, welding - those types of things that we did yesterday because it was conducive to do that, might not be a good idea on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday," Still said.

Whilst it'll fall short of a heatwave, the ridge of high pressure could still prove a record-breaker.

"The eastern part of the South Island from Dunedin to Blenheim should see temperatures 10 to 12C above average for this time of the year," Metservice meteorologist Raveen Das said.

Christchurch's January record is 36.4C, and Tuesday's high could shade that.

Canterbury District Health Board is warning people to stay out of the sun and avoid extreme exercise so they don't overheat.

The same goes for your pets.

"If they're getting overheated then they'll be panting excessively, can't lose sweat through their paws, their saliva will get very thick," vet Mike Averill said.

Advice for pet owners - make sure your animals have ample shade and cold water.

Good advice for humans too.