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Update: Petition Surfaces in Response to Newport Beach's Vote to Extinguish Fire Rings

On Tuesday the City Council voted to get rid of the 60 city-owned fire pits at Big Corona Beach and near the Balboa Pier. An online petition is now requesting supporters to send appeals to the California Coastal Commission.

The City Council listened to flaring opinions from residents Tuesday night on both sides of the controversial fire ring issue, but in the end voted unanimously to remove the 60 fire rings. Today an online petition surfaced on change.org asking fire ring supporters to send appeal requests to the California Coastal Commission.

The City Council decided the fate of the concrete fire rings -- which include 27 at Big Corona Beach and 33 near the Balboa Pier -- f. According to staff reports, the 60 fire rings present health impacts to residents who live nearby, pose fire threats and safety threats to beachgoers and residents who are subjected to hot ash from the fire rings when they are not doused.

While there was no discussion among the council prior to the vote several residents, including Nancy French, addressed the council to make sure their concerns were voiced before the decision was made.

"There's a lot to do at the beach but it doesn't have to be fire related," French said. "There is also a fiscal responsibility with potential lawsuits to consider."

Resident John Hamilton also spoke against the fire pits, saying residents are sometimes unable to breathe fresh air. 

"You have a choice of what you eat and what you drink, but not what you breathe," Hamilton said.

Supporters of the fire rings -- which date back to the 1960s-- also spoke at the meeting asking the City Council to preserve the memories that many create at the beach while others made safety suggestions. The online petition created Wednesday by resident David Ruiz is requesting residents to send in written appeals and phone calls to the California Coastal Commission.

"Help support this petition to stop the City Council from removing all of Newport Beach's and CDM's fire pits, Ruiz wrote. "These fire pits serve as a fun, safe activity for families and people of all ages to go to and enjoy the warm nights in Southern California."

For months dozens of residents on both sides of the issue have voiced their opinions at city meetings, via email to city officials and on the Save the Big Corona Fire Pits! Facebook page. 

Officials said a permit from the California Coastal Commission must be obtained before the fire rings can be removed. Do you agree with the City Council's decision? Tell us in the comments.

Ron Siegel March 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM
What a shame... So many great memories will never be created when these fire pits are gone.
Leonard Bernard March 14, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Yes the lovely imagery of charred and smoldering baby diapers...the unwound coathangers jutting playfully from the ashen sand...last summers gang stabbing...sigh...and all that plenair art (graffiti) gracing the walls and halls. My memories of the beach have little to do with synthetic sugar lumps (marshmellows) and toxic nitrate tubes (hotdogs)...smoldering over some carcinogen belching stogie on steroids...and more to do with elegant seabirds, breathtaking dolphins and the pristine wafting of salt scented zephyrs...but thats just me...
Judy Sweetland March 14, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I agree with Ron - it is a shame. I have many great memories and my kids do, as well. We've had Church Youth Group meetings, Girl Scout Meeting, Birthdays and team sport gatherings all around the fire pits over the years. While I have compassion for the local residents, I think a compromise could have been reached before getting rid of them completely. Maybe removing half of them to cut down on the smoke, and have beach patrol check them out right after curfew. We complain that all kids do is play video games, but we're cutting out all of their outdoor activities and reducing their options. So sad.
Kathryn March 14, 2012 at 03:23 PM
nope.. the world is becoming more rules, more scared and less fun!!!!!!!!!!
Peter Bretschger March 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
What a crime. The City has taken a great joy and passage of rights for many families. I have a hard time believing that the potential pollution problem caused by the smoke could outweigh all the other issues we have with diesel trucks, car emissions, etc. Watch out your gas fireplace might be next.
Caligirl March 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM
So fear of lawsuits and unlawful behavior is more important than all the great memories that are made around the fire pits ... Sounds like a law enforcement issue... How much will it cost to remove them and how much will all the studies cost that will be required by the coastal commission ... Spend that on law enforcement and clean up instead
Mary Longpre March 14, 2012 at 06:17 PM
What a shame, to remove and stop the use of fire's at our beach's. More Government and less freedoms.....the way of our current world. All because of a few stupid and uncaring people. God bless us!
Bill Dyment March 14, 2012 at 07:06 PM
fireplaces and barbecue grills are certainly next. Just wait. This is, unfortunately, is but a preview of coming attraction, I fear.
ace March 14, 2012 at 08:26 PM
While I HATE the idea of any more rules.. I tend to agree with this one.. the pits have become a trash pit.. They burn everything from plastic bottles to baby diapers. I can't tell you how many used coat hangers I have stepped over on the beach. Si Senior
Felice March 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I can't wait until they are removed. Just an excuse for tagging our beautiful beach, drinking, drugging and causing trouble and polluting the air. Has anyone read the recent police reports on crimes right in broad daylight here now? It's not people who live in this town. They should all stay in the 909 since it's already a crap hole there, we live here because it's beautiful. Hope the parking fee gets raised again also to at least $50 for trucks with the wheels 50 feet off the ground.
John April 03, 2012 at 11:17 PM
The warmth together around a fire at the beach is unique. With your toes in the sand looking through fire out over the Pacific at dusk is special. Have you ever enjoyed one of these special moments cuddling one of your grandchildren or been cuddled by a parent when you were little around one of these fire pits? I am having a very hard time understanding the thought process to come to the decision to removal the fire pits. It just seems to me anti-business, elitist, not in my backyard, go next door, isolated, unfriendly, Screw the little guy, anti-fun, I know better then you and I am going to save you from yourself. What studies show these fire pits are harmful? What are we really gaining and what are we really losing destroying this unique OC treasure?
Tom June 04, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Our family and friends will really miss them if this goes thru. I was down there tonight and saw all the fire rings lit up. I guess it's not to late to go one more time before they make couch potatoes out of all of us. This is a really stupid decision.
Charles Wolfe Masters, Jr. June 15, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Leave the fire pits! What a bunch of namby-pamby panty-wastes live here now! If there are problems with fires on the beach there must be solutions other than total prohibition. Families and friends having a beach barbeque is not a crime.
Stan Jacobs January 31, 2014 at 03:32 PM
It will be interesting to see which of these councilmen are re-elected. Some of those fat-cats really don't care as most are set for life and care little about the concerns of others. It has been that elitist mentality that has quelled Newport's beach town environment over the years.

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