Mayor Annise Parker said she is considering banning smoking in the city’s 380 parks because of the fire dangers presented by discarded cigarettes.
“This drought is a crisis situation,” Parker said. ”I am leaning toward a ban on smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars – a ban on smoking in city parks. But what I want first is Houstonians to understand why we need to do it and if at all possible to create that voluntary compliance.”
Parker has already reacted to the record drought with other measures. Last month she restricted lawn watering. Last week she issued a ban on open flames in city parks, outlawing barbecuing on thousands of acres of public land.
Parker said a recent fire at Levy Park on Bellaire Boulevard was likely caused by a lit cigarette discarded on a mulch pile.
Not to mention that massive fire in George Bush Park, which was thankfully contained fairly quickly and didn’t damage any county property. And of course the danger of an urban wildfire, too. The question is not whether we should do this, it’s why we don’t already ban smoking in the parks. Time for another update to the anti-smoking ordinance, methinks. Hair Balls has more.