Beach Bonfire Tradition Gains Momentum

Legislators act to place bureaucratic hurdles on AQMD's attempt to restrict beach bonfires on the coast.

Bonfire at Dockweiler Beach.
Bonfire at Dockweiler Beach.

The Assembly Monday approved a bill that would throw up bureaucratic hurdles to the South Coast Air Quality Management District's attempts to restrict beach bonfires along the coast of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The AQMD in July approved various restrictions on fire pits on Southland beaches, a move that drew criticism for many Orange County leaders, who have turned to state legislation to curtail the clampdown set to begin in March.

The bill would compel the AQMD to work with local cities and coastal oversight agencies such as the Coastal Commission when it attempts to reduce fire rings "to make sure there is no loss of beach access or harm to the local economy," said one of the bill's sponsors, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton.

Quirk-Silva acknowledged the bill's language is "kind of vague," but has been evolving as it has gone through various committees. State lawmakers, Quirk-Silva said, would prefer the AQMD work out a compromise instead.

"We don't necessarily need to be involved," Quirk-Silva said. "I would rather see a local resolution."

The state Senate will now consider the legislation.

The AQMD in July voted to require fire pits be kept at least 700 feet away from the nearest residence. The fire rings could be closer than 700 feet to homes if the rings are at least 100 feet apart from each other -- or at least 50 feet apart if a city has 15 or fewer rings.

The AQMD also would restrict the use of bonfires on high-pollution days. The agency also plans to implement pilot programs for fire rings powered by natural or propane gas instead of wood.

Critics of beach bonfires complain of pollution, but supporters cite the tradition.

- City News Service

Edgar January 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM
The AQMD has been one of the key contributors of industry moving out of California with their Nazi Storm Trooper tactics and self-perpetuating jobs by getting into every ones knickers. Yes we all want clean air but who polices this long out of control agency that seems to answer to no one. I hope the get their ass burned in a fire pit of public backlash. Since they have chased out all of industry they are now looking for any way to keep their jobs by invading sacred grounds of the public.
Phil Reimert January 28, 2014 at 05:07 PM
We should keep a few vestiges of our former un-regulated lives. Dockweiler is he closeest beach that still allows bonfires and they tend to counteract the foul odor from Hyperian--sort of like lighting a match in the bathroom.


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