Greens leader Jeanette Fitzsimons and her husband, Harry Parke, are in hot water with the Thames Fire Service for breaching a strict fire ban on New Year's Eve, but they have escaped prosecution.

Fire officers are furious that during days of high winds, which can fan fires, they had to attend a weekend callout in the Kauaeranga Valley, part of the Coromandel that has significant patches of dense native bush and pine forest.

Mr Parke told the Herald he had started the fire, which Ms Fitzsimons said was used to burn off gorse. "There was a very tiny gorse fire which was out by the time they [Fire Service] got there," she said. "I guess the neighbours further up the valley saw the smoke and didn't know what it was."

She admitted to knowing that a fire ban was on. The Fire Service had also warned her and Mr Parke about the ban while at the property.

"Oh, it's probably a bad thing because of the fire ban, even though it burned for maybe 10 minutes, and then was totally out and was nowhere near anything else that could possibly catch," Ms Fitzsimons said.

Open burning during a ban probably sent the wrong message to people, she said, although conditions were "dead still and it had rained over-night. We've never had anything get out of control because we understand the conditions."

Neighbour David Marsden said he thought his neighbours were "mad" lighting a fire while the winds were so high.

"It was pretty windy, mate. It was a windy westerly wind and we thought the whole peninsula could go up.

"It would have had to back-burn a little bit to get in to the main lot but it doesn't take much for a spark to fly in the air and land again.

"We were actually quite surprised to see it burning, because we look straight on to his place. We thought he's taking a risk and then five minutes later we saw a fire engine arrive."

A Thames Fire Service spokesman said it was "stupidity lighting a fire" a waste of the volunteers' time.

He said Ms Fitzsimons and Mr Parke should have known better, "especially for who they are".

Thames Coromandel District fire officer Allan Gamble said people could be taken to court for breaches of the fire ban.

The maximum sentence was imprisonment for up to six months, or a fine of up to $2000.

Mr Gamble said Mr Parke had claimed he was not aware of the ban, so was issued a stern warning only.