Orange County Supervisors Vote to Let Cities Keep Beach Fire Pits

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    Coastal residents want the fire pits banned, saying they are a safety and environmental issue, but others -- including county officials -- believe they are a family tradition that should remain where they are. Vikki Vargas reports from Aliso Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 23, 2013.

    Orange County supervisors voted Tuesday to let cities decide whether to keep fire pits on beaches, as a debate rages over whether the pits are a cheap way to have fun or dangerous, air-polluting menaces.

    Some cities and a regional air-quality agency have taken aim at the fire pits, saying the wood smoke poses a public health threat.

    Fire Pits Could Be Removed From SoCal Beaches Under Proposed Plan

    [LA] Fire Pits Could Be Removed From SoCal Beaches Under Proposed Plan
    The South Coast Air Quality Management District held a meeting on Thursday to gather public feedback about a proposed plan that would ban open burning, which would include the removal of fire pits along Southern California beaches. Vikki Vargas reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Thursday, March 28, 2013.

    The South Coast Air Quality Management District has proposed banning the beach fire pits throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. The agency will vote on the matter in June.

    On Tuesday, Orange County officials sided with supporters of the fire pits.

    Debate Heats Up Over Beach Fire Pit Ban

    [LA] Debate Heats Up Over Beach Fire Pit Ban
    Coastal residents made their case Thursday for banning beach fire pits, including feeling sick from the smoke. Air quality officials want all 840 fire pits on Los Angeles and Orange County beaches to be removed, because they say the smoke from the pits adds pollution to the basin. However, many beach-goers call the fire pits a summer staple. Vikki Vargas reports from Huntington Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 28, 2013.

    "Beach fire rings provide a unique, affordable recreational activity for Orange County residents and visitors," according to a report by the county's parks department and CEO of Legislative Affairs.

    There are more than 700 fire rings on Orange County beaches, with nearly all maintained by coastal cities. And those cities are split on the issue.

    Officials in Newport Beach are in favor of removing their fire pits to do away with smoke problems.

    Huntington Beach, however, wants to keep them. The city said if it removed the pits, it could lose $1 million in revenue from parking fees paid by beachgoers who want to sit by crackling fires.

    The AQMD's plan would affect the following beaches, which are listed with the number of fire pits on site:

    • Dockweiler State Beach, Playa del Rey, 90
    • Point Fermin Park, San Pedro, 3
    • Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, 6
    • Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach, 182
    • Huntington City Beach, Huntington Beach, 83
    • Huntington State Beach, Huntington Beach, 200
    • Balboa Beach, Balboa/Newport Beach, 33
    • Corona del Mar State Beach, Newport Beach, 27
    • Alisa Beach County Park, South Laguna, 7
    • Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, 32
    • Capistrano Beach Park, Capistrano, 4
    • North Beach, San Clemente, 4
    • San Clemente City Beach, San Clemente, 9
    • San Clemente State Beach, San Clemente, 160

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