Officials hope to discuss fire ring ban with AQMD

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The South Coast Air Quality Management District will postpone its hearing regarding the removal of beach fire rings in Orange and Los Angeles counties after the city of Huntington Beach received a letter from the California Coastal Commission.

The district had said it would delay the hearing to June 7 if the Huntingtong Beach provided documented correspondence from the commission.

The district board was originally set to discuss fire rings May 3 after the commission cited a district rule that bans certain open burning activities in its consideration of the city of Newport Beach’s application to remove 60 fire rings.


Adding fire rings to what is known as Rule 44 would douse about 800 fire rings in the Southern California area.

Huntington Beach officials opposed the move, saying it would hurt the city economically to lose its roughly 500 fire rings.

Mayor Connie Boardman said Monday that the city received the letter confirming the delay from the commission last week and plans to invite AQMD board members to Huntington Beach for public testimony.

“We’ll be talking to some of the AQMD board members and keep touching base with them,” she said. “I know that AQMD board member [Miguel] Pulido was interested in hearing from people in Huntington Beach, and we’re working on setting that up.”

Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry wrote in an email that the issue should be “considered thoughtfully’ and that he and Boardman “agree that each city should decide for themselves how to handle fire rings.”

Councilwoman Nancy Gardner echoed his sentiments.

“Everybody is trying to be as careful as possible to get the right answer for both of our cities,” she said.

Huntington Beach council members sounded off about their opposition to the proposed ban during Monday’s council meeting.

“This is an issue that goes beyond whether or not it’s the right thing to do,” said Councilman Joe Shaw, who placed a sticker on his iPad that said “Keep Your Mitts Off Our Pits.” “It’s a tradition that’s been around for many years.”

Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Harper suggested that the council persuade AQMD members to re-evaluate the issue, he said.

Two AQMD members, Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry and Chino Mayor Dennis Yates, have constituents who wouldn’t be able to use fire rings should the district consider banning them, Harper said.

Twitter: @acocarpio