Bonfire rings located throughout Southern California are a valuable part of beach culture. For over 60 years, family and friends have been using the rings as a place to socialize and celebrate our oceans. Not only do the fire pits offer a cheap activity for locals and tourists, but they also provide much needed revenue for state parks. In one year alone, the city of Huntington Beach made over $1 million in parking fees.
Recently, residents have been complaining that the smoke coming from the fire pits pollute air quality. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is agreeing with them and proposing to make changes to rule 444 that would include banning the use of an open fire across miles of coastline.
For a lot of locals, the fire pits are a nostalgic beach necessity. Many are puzzled by the possibility of banning bonfires, “A beach without a bonfire just doesn’t seem to make sense to me,” Nick Costa, a resident of Huntington Beach, explained to The Surf Channel.
Assemblyman Travis Allen invited the people of Huntington to sign a petition and show their love for the culture in which Southern California is known for. A survey done by California State Parks showed that by banning open fires, they will stand to loose 50% of revenue from camping fees in addition to the parking fees. People will not want to camp at the beach if they are unable to have a campfire. It is a large part of the experience.
For more information and to sign the petition visit savethebonfirerings.com. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is expected to vote in June. Today, there are around 700 fire pits along the Orange County coastline.