State government may give nod to fire rings

The California State Legislature is on course to make a stand in support of fire rings by passing a resolution set to be heard by the Senate next week.

Assemblyman Travis Allen's non-binding resolution asks state legislators to support the protection of important beach traditions, "such as fire rings," he wrote.

The document, ACR 52, passed the Assembly's Committee on Natural Resources on May 24 and awaits a reading by the Senate.

If passed by the Senate, the resolution will formally support fire rings, recognizing their significance in the state.

Allen's press secretary, Stephanie Freedman, said the resolution should pass the upper house without any issues, as Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) has been a known supporter of the fire rings.

"We're here to be the voice of our constituents," Freedman said. "This is huge. We are standing united in a bi-partisan effort on behalf of this tradition."

The resolution highlights various aspects of the 800 fire rings in California, with more than 500 in Huntington Beach alone.

Allen (R-Huntington Beach), along with 59 other cosigners, sees the fire pits as offering a safe and inexpensive activity that can be enjoyed by all, "regardless of socioeconomic class," he wrote.

The resolution also mentioned that the rings are a time-honored tradition.

"California has a wonderful history and beach culture that is deeply woven into our communities, especially in Southern California," Allen said in a release. "Beach bonfires positively contribute to communities culturally and economically."

The discussion on the fire ring issue sparked when the South Coast Air Quality Management District considered banning all rings in the state after Newport Beach voted to remove 60 of them at Corona del Mar Beach and Balboa Pier.

AQMD initially scheduled a hearing on the ban on June 7 but after an air quality report was released and a public hearing was held in Huntington Beach, the regulators postponed the meeting for sometime in July.

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