Total fire ban begins today across all of North Island

Sweeping fire bans come into force across the North Island this morning as New Zealand bakes in a hot, dry summer.

File picture Source:

Helicopters and extra firefighting resources are on standby, with the country facing what Fire and Emergency NZ bosses describe as "unprecedented conditions".

From today, the entire North Island will be under a total fire ban, as well as parts of the South Island.

It comes after weeks of dry, warm and windy weather with little to no rainfall.

"This [ban] is because there is a very real risk that in the current conditions a fire could easily spread and get out of control," rural fire manager Tim Mitchell says.

"It only takes one spark to start a fire so don’t risk it. Some routine activities like driving vehicles through roadside vegetation or machinery work, can cause a fire in these extremely dry conditions."

Permits that were previously issued are suspended during the ban, Fire and Emergency NZ says.

It's likely the restrictions will remain for some time, unless there are "days of significant rainfall".