Really stupid thing to do
Smoking in the Wither Hills Farm Park is not banned, but it is stupid, fire authorities and the Marlborough District Council say.
Concerned members of the public contacted the Marlborough Express after seeing people smoking in the park yesterday.
Marlborough principal rural fire officer Richard MacNamara said smoking was not covered by the total fire ban in place for all of Marlborough south of the Wairau River, but it was very unsafe to smoke in the park given the high fire risk on the hills.
"It's a really stupid thing to do. A really stupid thing to do,"
Council reserves and amenities officer Robert Hutchinson agreed, but said the council also had no rules banning smoking in the park.
"It's stupid. You're dumb to be doing it, but there's nothing that stops you smoking up there."
The council would support putting up signs in the park encouraging people not to smoke, but council policy was to encourage people to voluntarily give up smoking rather than banning it from places.
Mr McNamara said Marlburians should otherwise be thanked for their good work in preventing fires in Marlborough over the summer.
Although there had been some worries at the start of the summer, people had responded well since then and especially since the total fire ban was put in place on January 30.
"From the Christmas holidays on, people are doing the right thing and they need to be thanked for that. We've had the odd fire through accidents and a couple from tourists lighting camp fires they shouldn't, but there's been a really good response to the threat of rural fire throughout the region."
The fire risk remained very high, he said, and the ban would not be lifted until there was some significant rain or autumn conditions eased the dangers. People should keep up their good efforts, he said.
- The Marlborough Express