HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A meeting Thursday will help determine the fate of fire rings on two popular Orange County beaches.
The burning debate about whether fire pits should be allowed on sand in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach will come to a head during a public hearing with The South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The city of Newport Beach wants to remove 33 fire rings near Balboa Pier and another 27 rings on a stretch of Corona del Mar State Beach after beach front residents complained of smoke and related health issues.
The city of Huntington Beach fears that if Newport’s ban is approved, it could affect their fire pits across on their beaches which help bring in more than $1 million in parking revenue annually.
“Keep the fire rings, we need the fire rings,” one resident said. “There’s plenty of areas of beach without fire rings on it.”
“It’s not going to make that much difference. It’s dumb,” another supporter said.
The rings “provide an affordable means of gathering family and friends on Southern California shores to celebrate our outdoor beach lifestyle while enjoying the glow of a warm fire,” a press release from “Save Southern CA’s Beach Bonfire Rings” said.
A Facebook page and petition have been created by the local chamber of commerce to save what many residents call a cherished tradition. As of Wednesday morning, the petition had more than 2,700 supporters.
The public hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at South Coast AQMD, 21865 Copley Drive, in Diamond Bar.
The board is expected to make a decision on the fate of the rings at their May 3 meeting.