Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Newport Beach City Council has voted 5-2 to accept an interim plan that places at least 15 wood-burning fire rings on Corona del Mar State Beach and in an area near the Balboa Pier.

The council Tuesday night also passed a long-term, permanent plan changing all 60 city fire rings to wood burning.

The city will need about 10 days to get the fire rings in the correct configuration for the interim plan, City Manager Dave Kiff said, according to the Orange County Register.

As part of the permanent plan, which requires a development permit from the California Coastal Commission, 18 wood-burning rings would operate at Corona del Mar State Beach, 26 on the beaches on both sides of the Balboa Pier, nine near the Newport Pier and seven at the Newport Dunes, the Register reported. All fire rings would be spaced to comply with South Coast Air Quality Management District regulations.

The city implemented a charcoal-only rule in March to comply with new AQMD regulations on wood-burning fire rings. It prohibited wood burning within 700 feet of homes or 100 feet of other rings. By spacing the fire rings farther apart, the city can meet those AQMD regulations and allow for wood burning.

Kurt Wiese, general counsel for AQMD, said at the meeting that both the interim plan and the permanent plan comply with the agency’s rules.

Residents spoke for more than an hour-and-a-half during the meeting and were nearly evenly split on the issue, according to the Register. Proponents of wood-burning rings called wood bonfires a longtime beach tradition, while opponents said their health is affected by breathing in wood smoke.

Until the Coastal Commission weighs in on the city’s permanent plan, at least 15 wood- burning rings will be spread between the eastern side of the Balboa Pier and Big Corona, all at least 50 feet apart, The Register reported. All other fire rings will remain charcoal-only.

—Staff and wire reports

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.