State committee approves fire rings bill

An Assembly bill aiming to protect beach fire rings in Southern California and prevent a local air agency from enforcing its regulations passed out of a legislative committee Monday.

Assemly Bill 1102 garnered unanimous bipartisan support of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and will go to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations Jan. 22.

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) co-authored AB 1102, which, if passed by the state Assembly and Senate, will try to stop the South Coast Air Quality Management District from imposing changes to fire rings known as "Rule 444."

Rule 444, which mandates that fire rings in Southern California be placed at least 700 feet away from residences and at least 100 feet apart from one another, is scheduled to take effect in March.

AB 1102 seeks to prohibit the agency's provisions and instead require the AQMD to obtain a coastal development permit and work closely with cities and other coastal agencies to regulate or restrict the use of the wood-burning devices within a specific jurisdiction.

"This legislation will ensure that every Californian has access to our beautiful beaches through the affordable attraction of a beach bonfire," Allen wrote in a statement. "It's important that we work together to protect our environment while preserving the historic, safe and inexpensive family recreational tradition on our beaches."

— Anthony Clark Carpio

Twitter: @acocarpio

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