Letters/Online Comments

Keep the bonfires

With the question of whether bonfires will stay or be forced to leave local beaches, the issues has continued to gather steam as a new bonfire bill was introduced to the Senate Appropriations this summer.

City constituents appeared to be taking advantage of the bonfires this Fourth of July as the smell of burning wood filled the air of Huntington Beach and other SoCal beaches.

“Beach bonfires are an activity enjoyed by people from all across California, including those who cannot afford multi-million dollar beachfront homes,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen, co-sponsor of the bill (R-Huntington Beach). “This legislation will ensure that every Californian has access to our beautiful beaches through the irreplaceable attraction of a beach bonfire.”

In a 7-0 bipartisan vote, lawmakers pushed through AB1102, which may help preserve beach fire rings in the area. The bill will moves forward to the Senate Appropriations Committee before going to the full state Senate.

“The fire rings have been an important part of California’s culture for decades,” said Doug Swardstrom, a founder of Friends of the Fire Rings. “Most people do not go to the beach to stare at smoldering grey charcoal embers.”

His point was proven on July 4 as visitors roasted marshmallows and enjoyed the holiday around the at-risk bonfires. If beach patrons get a say in this argument, it looks like the bonfires will be here to stay – at least at some beaches. 

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