Mailbag: Neighbors in H.B. weigh in on fire rings

I live in Huntington Beach, about two blocks from the beach. I am not a wealthy person trying to keep others from beach traditions.

I have asthma. I really do. Smoke from the beach fires is one of my triggers. Exposure to it can push me over the brink and put me in the emergency room. During the summers, I cannot drive down Pacific Coast Highway with the car windows open. I cannot ride my bicycle at the beach.

Wearing a face mask does not help.

We cannot keep the windows open in the house in the late afternoon or evening, especially on weekends. I am telling you the health issues are very real, and if it is bad for me, it is bad for everyone.

Yes there are other things that add to particulate pollution, but beach fires add quite a bit, and exposure to them is very unhealthful and unsafe for individuals like me. Like secondhand cigarette smoke, beach fire smoke falls in to this category.

Huntington Beach says it will cost millions in tax revenue if fires are eliminated. Why are profits more important than individuals' health?

Please know these are real issues, and with the increased crowds of people at the beach burning wood, the smoke has increased over the years.

Beth Shafer

Huntington Beach


Keep them burning

Keep the fire rings. Those who are allergic to smoke, well move along. The shoreline is vast and the smell doesn't travel that far.

Lisa Antonacci

Huntington Beach


Fire rings are toxic

Of course the fire rings provide far too much fun to ever be banned from the beach, but don't automatically assume that the people who want them removed are all just a bunch of heartless, inhuman monsters.

While every fire starts out using some sort of wood, as the night goes on and spirits rise, the wood usually runs out. That's when the younger folk may begin to utilize other "combustibles" besides wood. Trash, Styrofoam coolers, plastic chairs, plastic trash cans and just about anything else that will fit inside the pit is fed into the flames.

Some of those materials burn well and others don't, but they nearly all release a toxic smelling smoke that can't be good to breathe. If you get to the beach early in the morning before the rings are cleaned out, you can see for yourself what's left of the smoldering remains.

It's probably best to stay on the upwind side of those dying fires.

Chris Borg

Huntington Beach

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