Assembly Bill 1102, which would protect beach bonfires for all Californians, passed 64-0. The bill was proposed by state Assemblyman Travis Allen(R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton). It would require the South Coast Air Quality Management District to work together with cities and the California Coastal Commission on proposals prior to the removal of any fire rings.
“Beach bonfires are an activity enjoyed by people from all across California, including those who cannot afford multi-million-dollar beachfront homes. This legislation will ensure that every Californian has access to our beautiful beaches through the affordable attraction of a beach bonfire,” Allen said in a released statement.
AB1102 now moves onto the Senate.
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, would affect more than 700 bonfire rings in Orange and Los Angeles counties and is set to go into effect on March 1.
AB 1102 would protect the Southern California tradition of beach bonfires by requiring the SCAQMD to work with local cities and other coastal oversight agencies to prove that there will be no loss of beach access, no harm to local economies, and that any environmental concerns are addressed before a city can remove the fire rings from the beaches in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
The Newport Beach City Council voted in March 2012 to remove the city's concrete fire rings, including the 27 rings at Big Corona Beach and the 33 near the Balboa Pier, citing potential health and safety risks.
Supporters maintain the fire rings are a long-standing Southern California tradition that signify the beach lifestyle and provide the community with low-cost recreation.