Grady Banister, ­­­Orange County

Some of my fondest memories are triggered by the smell of wood smoke, salt air and the ocean.

Growing up in Orange County, for many of us as high school students, it was a summer ritual, to spend at least a few nights every summer gathered around the fire pits. Some of us wandered a little bit away to be with our girlfriends, most of us made new friends or talked with old friends about the future. All of us wanted to move to a beach city when we graduated. A few kids would bring beer, but we were pretty good at making sure the drinkers didn’t cause a problem or try to drive.

Romances started and ended, friendships became deeper, new ideas and dreams were spawned and summer days and vacations started and ended gathered around these pits.

It saddens me to think that the young people of Orange County could grow up without those memories. I’m sorry I don’t think the Air Quality Management District or anyone else for that matter could convince me that the fire pits produce more particulate pollution than a dozen other sources. Ever get behind one of those trucks filled with hot tar on the freeway? Wake up to the sound of backpack blowers at full throttle?

And to the beachfront homeowners, those fire pits were there when you purchased your home and you knew it. To rob the rest of us who all pay taxes to enjoy the beaches and memories of watching the sunset and spending the evening around a fire pit is a crime.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (6)

  • That’s a touching letter, but you fail to understand that people are “being robbed” of clean air. Yes, freeway traffic and leaf blowers create pollution… and something needs to be done about that as well.

    • I don’t use or live within 500 miles of any beach, so you can consider me unbiased by any self-interest.

      The homeowners should not be granted the right to control every aspect of public land maintained by taxpayers and meant for all people to enjoy.

      You may have a billion-dollar home but you still don’t own the beach or the air.

  • @ Grady Banister:
    Some of my fondest memories of adolescence are triggered by the smell of marijuana smoke, spilled beer and incense. So what? I’ve grown up and have come to understand the damage caused by irresponsible activities from my younger days.

    Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart sure looked great smoking those cigarettes in black and white, with sinuous trails of smoke captured on classic film, too. Does that mean we should revert to the days when many of us had to stay out of restaurants and other public venues because smokers had free reign to poison the air wherever they pleased? I say no!

    With new information about science and health must come social adaptation. That’s why we’re not living in caves anymore, Mr. Banister. Welcome to the ever-progressing part of the human race!

  • The AQMD measured the pollution – they should know where it comes from.

    Other beachgoers would be happier with clean air and propane fire pits.

    Protecting public health is not a crime. Denying facts and trying to mislead people is not technically criminal, but it sure comes close.

  • You’ve got chemicals in woodsmoke such as benzene, dioxin, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, propionaldehyde, acetaldehyde, furfural, toluene, methyl chloride, phenanthrene, benzoapyrene, ethylbenzene, arsenic, chromium and soot.

    Wood smoke has a lot of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke, yet the firepits make it much more quantities.

    The real crime is poisoning the air with all those chemicals. It’s time to ban the firepits.

    Ignorance, like Grady Banister’s on display here, is the real crime.

  • I have a leaf blower for my garden which I power with 18V Lithium-Ion batteries. I charge my batteries with solar panels. I have a 40V Lithium-Ion lawn mower. I have insulated my house and use thick curtains and heat my home reasonably cleanly and cheaply with natural gas. My Chevy Volt I only ever sometimes need to pump gas into as I only use it for short trips and I use Amtrak or Greyhound for longer ones.

    I am doing everything smarter than a decade ago. I expect the Beach Cities to be smart about this too. How they operate now with the firepits is disgustingly polluting. They need to listen to the air pollution expoerts and either close the pits completely or figure out some propane substitute. It wasn’t that long ago when can exhausts were a lot worse than they are now and we have better regulations and smog checks. We need to keep moving forward on air quality issues. It is time for the firepits to go.

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