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AQMD To Hear From Public About New Proposal To Restrict Fire Pits On SoCal Beaches

NEWPORT BEACH ( — The South Coast Air Quality Management District board will hold a public meeting Thursday to solicit feedback from residents about a new proposal that aims to restrict fire pits along Southern California beaches.

AQMD's meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency at 1107 Jamboree Rd.

Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido have developed a plan that would allow clean-fueled fire pits that use natural gas or propane fuel as a replacement for wood fires.

AQMD "conducted scientific testing of beach fires' impact on air quality in nearby communities," Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein said in a statement. "We believe this new approach will better protect public health while allowing beach fires to continue as a popular Southern California pastime."

Newport Beach officials, who requested a ban on fire rings after residents complained of health issues, have agreed to participate in the pilot program.

Huntington Beach officials, have been opposed to a ban, stating fire pits along their beaches bring in more than $1 million in parking revenue annually.

"We've had beach parties for years, why take that away from the kids?" a Huntington Beach resident told KNX1070's Ron Kilgore. "It's free, it's fun."

Beach Bonfire Restriction Proposal

Under the plan, AQMD would allow beach bonfires in Los Angeles and Orange counties as long as they are located at least 700 feet from the nearest residence and at least 100 feet apart. Also, the air quality forecast for fine particulates could not exceed 100 on the Air Quality Index.

Cities would be allowed to prohibit bonfires within their jurisdiction if they determine they are causing a nuisance based on state law, according to AQMD.

A public hearing has been set for July 12 to consider adopting the proposed plan, which would go into effect on March 1, 2014.

A second meeting will be held Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Embassy Suites at 1440 E. Imperial Ave. in El Segundo.

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