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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

AQMD Proposes Removing Fire Pits in Newport, Huntington Beach

Newport wants to remove the pits but Huntington Beach wants to keep theirs.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District proposed a ban Thursday on bonfires in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach but the cities are divided over the issue.

Residents have complained that the smoke from bonfires on the beach creates pollution. Newport Beach residents voted in favor of removing their 60 fire pits in a meeting in Diamond Bar Thursday.

Huntington Beach, however, wants to keep their fire pits. The city said removing the pits, which are a popular gathering place, would cost the city $1 million in parking revenue.

"We're concerned about the public health affects of the smoke from these fires," AQMD official Sam Atwood said.

Corona Del Mar resident John Hamilton said he wanted more control over his neighborhood's environmental health.

"It's not fair to me for anybody to impose upon me a situation that is known to be a hazard and a danger," Hamilton said.

Dianne Thompson from the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce said removing the pits would hurt the community as well as the city's pocketbook.

"This is a way to come together as a family, as a community, as a neighborhood and celebrate the good times," Thompson said. "There's an economic impact on so many people and so many businesses."

Homes in Huntington Beach are further inland than in Newport, which residents said makes a difference. Newport Beach Deputy Community Development Planner Brenda Wisneski said each city might need its own solution.

"It could make sense to have them treated differently," Wisneski said.

The AQMD board will vote on whether to ban bonfires in the two cities on May 3rd.


There have been numerous studies done. If people would educate themselves and look at the evidence the AQMD knows exists and has based its guidance upon, they would see just how toxic all of this smoke is. I am glad the AQMD exists to try to protect California residents and city revenue should NEVER be put as a priority over health - especially for our children's lungs. I think it's only a matter of time like cigarette smoking. The wood smoke is 12 times more carcinogenic than equal amounts of tobacco smoke and has been linked to brain cancer. Please learn more and encourage cities to come up with healthy alternatives to draw people to the beautiful beaches! There are many ways to do this.

Maybe builders should not build in places that could cause future problems for their residents, im sure people were enjoying the beach night life long before those complaining residents moved in, maybe they should have done their due dilligence prior to purchasing a home so close to the beach where bon fires and tourists and locals go hand in hand. Instead they build and sell and then the rest of the world has to change what they have been doing for so long, all in the intrest of profits for home builders.

Was there a study about the smoke? Fire pits are a great, inexpensive way for a great family outing. What is this country coming to when AQMD has the power to take away fire pits. Keep the pits!

The fire pits in Huntington Beach is a good family exprence to remove the fire pits would be a crime the home owners that complained can always move to place where the smoke an people will not bother them .

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