California assembly members introduce bipartisan legislation to protect beach bonfires

Assembly bill 1102 will protect the fire rings

SACRAMENTO - Assembly Members Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) introduced Assembly Bill 1102, which will protect beach bonfires for all Californians, Friday. 

AB 1102 follows the unanimous passage of ACR 52, which supports access to California’s beaches and the continued enjoyment of the community tradition of beach bonfires. 

ACR 52 received overwhelming support from both Houses of the Legislature and garnered 60 co-authors in the Assembly.

“Beach bonfires are an activity enjoyed by people from all across California, including those who cannot afford multi-million dollar beachfront homes.  This bipartisan legislation will stop the SCAQMD’s attempts to ban beach bonfires on certain California beaches.  It’s important that we work together to protect this historic, safe and inexpensive family recreational activity on our beaches,” said Assemblyman Allen.

"It would be hard to imagine the Orange County Coast without fire rings on the beach. While I sympathize with the need to reduce pollution in Orange County, there are several more effective solutions available to us without taking away not only fun and tradition, but also needed revenue for our coastal parks," said Assembly Member Quirk-Silva.

Despite overwhelming opposition from the community, on July 12 the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) voted 7 to 6 to institute regulations that will result in the removal of many of our beach bonfire rings. 

These regulations are not justified by the science and are strongly opposed by Californians. 

“The SCAQMD has overstepped its authority to benefit a few wealthy landowners who want to restrict the enjoyment of our beaches.  This legislation will simply allow our bonfires to stay as they have been for over 50 years and for the continued enjoyment of all Californians,” said Assemblyman Allen.

The SCAQMD’s recently enacted amendments to Rule 444 to require that fire rings be at least 700 feet away from residences and 100 feet apart – meaning the rings would have to be located in the ocean in Newport Beach.

This rule would affect over 700 bonfire rings in Orange and Los Angeles counties, and is set to go into effect on March 1, 2014. 

The passage of AB 1102 will prohibit the SCAQMD from enacting the proposed regulations and save fire rings. 

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