Man charged after flamethrower used in Tasman

A man has been charged following the use of a flamethrower during a complete fire ban near Nelson.

The 34-year-old from Takaka has been charged with fire-related offences following activity at the Dystopia Festival last weekend which involved the use of a flamethrower.

The entire Tasman District is under a strict fire ban following weeks of hot weather, leaving many parts of the region dry and at extreme fire risk.

Flames were blasted into the air by a flamethrower mounted on the back of a ute over the weekend as music pumped through the speakers.

Eighty kilometres away at Pigeon Valley, emergency services continue to tackle a scrub fire which has engulfed more than 2300ha which started almost a fortnight ago.

A festival-goer, who wished not to be named, said he was unaware the area had a total fire ban but the pyrotechnics “looked good and it was controlled”.

“It was a fun event, many people had a blast and would love the organisers to do another one,” he said.

“There was all the safety precautions taken first with water hoses and fire extinguishers. The area that there was fire was on dirt, with nothing in range of catching on fire and there were many on patrol to make sure all was good.”

In a statement, police said the 34-year-old man was due to appear in Nelson District Court on Monday.

“Police would like to remind people in the Tasman/Marlborough District that a fire ban remains in place,” they said.

“If there is any doubt about what activities are restricted they can visit the FENZ website.”