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By Jim Shilander

More than 30 fire pits along Doheny State Beach and the four at Capistrano Beach Park could soon be useless, if the South Coast Air Quality Management District votes to ban beachside fires in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Photo by Andrea Papagianis
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is considering a measure that would ban beachside fires in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Photo by Andrea Papagianis

The San Clemente City Council will send notice to the South Coast Air Quality Management District that it will oppose any attempt to ban the use of fire pits or bonfires on Orange County beaches.

A recently introduced proposal by the SCAQMD—the state air pollution agency for parts of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties and all of Orange County—could ban beach fires, year round, on state beaches from Playa del Rey to San Clemente.

The council discussed the proposed ban during its report period. Mayor Pro Tem Tim Brown said he considered the proposal a textbook case of overstepping boundaries.

“This is absolutely bureaucratic overreach,” Brown said. “To have these bureaucrats sit behind a desk and tell us what we can and cannot do on our beaches is absolutely ridiculous.”

The council voiced agreement with Brown’s sentiments and voted unanimously to oppose the ban. Mayor Bob Baker indicated he would write a letter stating that opposition, and all council members indicated a willingness to sign it.

The district board had planned to discuss the issue at its meeting May 3, but the board announced Thursday that it was postponing the public hearing on the ban until its meeting June 7, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Diamond Bar.

On Sunday, April 28, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) will host a beach bonfire in support of beachside fires, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Huntington State Beach where Newland Street meets Pacific Coast Highway.

Andrea Papagianis contributed to this report

Related Story: Beach Fires Spark Debate in Orange County

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