California Board Seeks to Ban Iconic Beach Firepits

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California Board Seeks to Ban Iconic Beach Firepits

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:29 pm

California Board Seeks to Ban Iconic Beach Firepits
July 9, 2013

Cheryl K. Chumley ( writes from Northern Virginia. (read full bio)

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District is proposing to give cities the authority to outlaw fire pits within their jurisdictions if they find the fires are nuisances. The proposal jeopardizes one of the iconic images of California’s surfer culture, where surfers often end the day around a fire pit on the beach.

The government proposal reflects American Lung Association opposition to beach fires, claiming they release too much air pollution.

Unprecedented Restrictions
For those fire pits that are not banned, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) proposes all must be located at least 700 feet from the closest residence and at least 100 feet from each other.

Sam Atwood, media relations manager for SCAQMD, told Environment & Climate News the group’s governing board has scheduled a vote on the issue this summer.

Concerned About Crowds
Several Southern California cities are debating whether to ban fire pits on the beach. Beachgoers oversee approximately 850 beach fire pits in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Some landowners complained about the crowds and noise, asking government regulators to ban the fire pits to keep people off the beaches at night.

ALA Alleges Health Threats
A spokesperson for the American Lung Association in California says the fire pits are a health threat.

“Fire rings are creating hazards in communities that are damaging to one’s health and to the health of residents who live nearby,” said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior director for policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association in California. “We’re very concerned about the impact of the smoke, … and it contributes to asthma attacks, strokes, a number of respiratory illnesses, and it can even cause premature death.”

Holmes-Gen said particulates in wood smoke are especially dangerous to young, developing lungs. Holmes-Gen said teenagers and young adults, the very people supposedly at the greatest risk from beach fires, are the most frequent attendees at the fire pits.

“People do have to be very cautious,” Holmes-Gen said.

Residents Rally for Fire Pits
But not all agree. Southern Californians are rallying in support of beach fire pits. Members of the state legislature, a majority of board members for the California Coastal Commission, and a growing number of California residents decry the idea of losing a cherished and longstanding summer pastime.

“Our staff recommendation is for denial [of the SCAQMD’s proposal],” said Sarah Christie, a legislative director for the California Coastal Commission.

The California legislature passed a resolution supporting beach fire pits.

Cultural Contributions Cited
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 52 recognizes “the tradition and cultural significance of fire rings on state beaches as part of California’s recreational and community activity, and beach lifestyle.”

“This measure would support the protection of California’s beaches, access to those beaches, and important traditions that are integral to the state’s culture and beach lifestyle, such as fire rings,” the resolution states.

The resolution states an “important beach attraction is the time-honored tradition of a beach bonfire in a fire ring that California residents and visitors enjoy as the sun goes down over a perfect California beach evening.

“Beach bonfires are a safe and inexpensive recreational activity and are enjoyed by all the members of our community, regardless of socioeconomic class.… Beach attractions result in optimum economic and community activity, from gatherings of family and friends, beach barbeques, community events, and beach sports, and much more,” the resolution reads.

“California has such a wonderful history and beach culture that is deeply woven into our communities, especially in Southern California,” said the resolution’s sponsor, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Dist. 72), in a press statement. “Beach bonfires positively contribute to communities culturally and economically.”

Cheryl Chumley ( is a news writer with The Washington Times.

source ... h-firepits


Want to Attend Fire Rings Meeting at AQMD HQ on Friday? Free Buses Arranged For NB, HB Residents
posted: July 10th, 2013 03:23 pm | 1Comment

The Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau are inviting 50 people for a free ride to Friday’s South Coast Air Quality Management District meeting, where board members are expected to vote on the future of beach bonfires.

“In order to show support for the fire ring tradition that has sparked countless memories over the last six decades, we want YOU to be present at this vote,” a reservation website states. “Your attendance will be a significant factor in saving the beach bonfires.”

The bus will take 50 passengers from the old Newport Beach City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd. to the SCAQMD headquarters at 21865 Copley Drive in Diamond Bar, about 32 miles away. Free parking will be available in City Hall parking lots, and lunch will be provided on the return trip after the meeting for those who RSVP. The bus leaves at 7:30 a.m., and those who plan to ride the bus are asked to check in by 7:15 a.m.

To RSVP and reserve a spot on the bus, click here.

Nicole Llido, visitor services manager for the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau, said other free rides would be available, leaving from the Huntington Beach City Hall; click here for more information.

The SCAQMD board is holding the special meeting beginning at 9 a.m. to consider changes to Rule 444, including a ban on “beach burning activities after March 1, 2014 in areas within 700 feet of a residence unless specified spacing requirements were met,” according to a staff report.

The changes could result in a ban on wood fires in all of Newport Beach’s 60 beach fire rings.

The City of Newport Beach recently withdrew a California Coastal Commission application to remove its beach fire rings because of concerns about the dangers of wood smoke. The City Council voted unanimously last year to remove the rings, but this summer, Councilwoman Leslie Daigle reversed her opinion and has publicly supported keeping the fire rings.

The SCAQMD board also will discuss issuing a Request For Proposals for “the demonstration of low emission non-wood beach-type fire rings.”

Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry said that Newport Beach will consider implementing a pilot program that uses gas- or propane-fueled fire rings at Big Corona State Beach and in the Balboa Pier area; read our story here. The City Council will have to vote on that program, which would likely require Coastal Commission approval. City Manager Dave Kiff said that approval of a pilot program was another reason the City withdrew its Coastal Commission application.

Coastal Commission staff had recommended keeping the fire rings. That meeting had been scheduled for Thursday; read our story here.

The Newport Beach City Council members have not discussed fire rings at recent meetings, and only one member, Daigle, attended a public information meeting last month held at the Newport Hyatt; read our story here.

Some members of the public, however, have spoken about fire rings during the public comment opportunities at those meetings.

Newport Beach resident Jim Mosher said at Tuesday’s Council meeting that the issue is giving the city a “very bad name” and said that problems with wood smoke could be handled by educating fire rings users and by using existing laws that allow the fire department to shut down rings if the smoke is a nuisance.

“But instead of accepting our responsibility as good and responsible stewards of the public tidelands, we seem to be actually hoping for bad behavior so that an outside agency, seeing our self-impoosed helplessness, will adopt new regulations prohibiting a use that we could have managed ourselves,” he said. “The AQMD will be hearing this matter on Friday, and I don’t think it will be a proud day for our city.”

Mayor Curry thanked Mosher for his comments without any response.

Opponents of beach bonfires have said the smoke is unhealthy, particularly for residents who live near them and are exposed to year-round bonfires and the smoke that drifts toward their homes from the beach.

« NMUSD Board Members Rank CdM Pool Locker Room As Second-Highest Priority

source ... residents/


If Propane is Forced on Newport Beach Now, Other Beaches Will Be Next!

July 6, 2013 by admin
Stand up with Newport Beach and say “NO” to propane – now and forever!
Longbeach Press-Telegram
Propane and propane accessories, not firewood, may one day fuel
Southern California beach parties

By Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer

Newport Beach officials have withdrawn their request to remove fire pits from popular beaches within their city, but a decision later this month could give cities more power to remove wood-fueled fire rings located near homes.

The move follows Newport Beach officials’ consideration of a pilot program that would replace old-school fire pits with fire rings that use propane or natural gas. A gas-fueled fire would be a departure from the traditional beachside bonfire, but air quality officials are confident the wood smoke from beach fires pollutes the air, and Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff said that kind of change may be what is needed to protect the health of people who live or work near fire pits.

The Southern California Air Quality Management District estimates a single fire blazing in a fire ring for one evening can generate as much fine particulate matter as a diesel truck would emit on a 564-mile trip. Fine particulate matter can accumulate in the lungs and particulate pollution is linked to asthma attacks and bronchitis. Long-term exposures may lead to reduced lung function and even cause premature death, according to the EPA.

In Kiff’s view, people who enjoy the occasional bonfire may not have too many problems from smoke, but he is concerned about Newport Beach city employees.

“If you’re a person that’s always at the beach … you would experience that smoke more often and I think the health impacts are different,” he said.

Kiff wrote a letter to the California Coastal Commission on Tuesday asking the agency to drop the city’s request for permission to remove fire rings. Newport officials want to change their plans to include a pilot program for gas-fueled fire rings, but Kiff wrote in the letter that it makes more sense for the Coastal Commission to consider the city’s new idea after the AQMD makes its decision on a rule affecting fire pits at all beaches along the coastline of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

At Los Angeles County beaches, it appears as if fire pits are here to stay. Although the AQMD had proposed banning fire pits throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties, the agency later put forth a compromise proposal after supervisors in both counties registered their opposition to a full-blown ban.

The new rule, set for consideration at the AQMD’s July 12 meeting, would require fire pits to be at least 700 feet away from homes. Pits would also have to be at least 100 feet away from each other, or be separated by at least 50 feet if there are 15 or fewer pits within a city.

The upshot is that fire pits at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey and Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro would not have to lose their fire pits, although a few fire rings at Cabrillo Beach may have to be moved. Fire pits at Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington City Beach would also be far enough from homes to be unaffected by the proposed rule.

The AQMD may also give cities the power the remove beach fire rings if those cities take the necessary steps to declare those pits to be a nuisance.

AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood acknowledged that Newport Beach’s request to ban fire pits led the agency to monitor pollution around fire pits and consider restrictions on fire rings.

Agency officials also think Newport Beach has the right idea when it comes to replacing traditional wood-fired pits with fire rings designed to burn alternative fuels.

“We think this is the wave of the future,” Atwood said.

Mayor Pullido needs to give up the idea now that gas grills are an option! He is in effect supporting the ban by supporting gas! If he supports GAS, his constituents should be made aware of his position in his next election! The Latino community should stand up for keeping the fire rings as is – they do NOT belong to Newport Beach residents on Ocean Blvd! They belong to all of us!

Propane or Natural Gas?!!! Are the politicians and NB City Manager out of their minds?! Has anyone ever heard of a bonfire with a gas fire ring? Cooking S’mores over a small blue flame?!

source ... l-be-next/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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