Houston mayor Annise Parker has banned public smoking in the city's 380 parks.
Last Friday, Parker signed an executive order to temporarily ban park smoking in an attempt to prevent any further forest fires from occurring in Houston, which is enduring its driest year on record. According to the Houston Chronicle, the city has recorded 45 days of 100+ degree heat, which is 40 percent more than any previous year. And just last week, two fires started in George Bush Park, with one scorching around 1,500 acres of land.
The executive order makes it illegal to smoke a cigar, cigarette or pipe within the boundaries of any city park. Violators who are caught will be fined anywhere from $200 to $2,000. While the ban seems to be temporary, it is interesting to note that no timeline was specified in the order.
In April, Harris County, of which Houston is the county seat, banned smoking in more than 75,000 acres of public parks in April. Parker said she wanted to match the city's regulations with the county's so visitors would not be confused.
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