San Diego officials ban wood bonfires on local beaches to crack down on burn injuries and air quality at night, except in certain designated areas.
The ban was confirmed through a 8-0 vote Tuesday, in an attempt to implement a new policy that will reduce injuries caused by fire, and to improve the air quality surrounding coastal neighborhoods.
Officials say this ban will keep beach areas safe and prevent charcoal ash debris in the air throughout cities, such as Mission Beach.
“The proposed changes will make our beaches safer by preventing hospitalizations, and they will help the environment by stopping the spread of charcoal ash debris and improve air quality throughout the city,” said Larry Webb, president of the Mission Beach Town Council.
Webb says that this isn't entirely a bonfire ban, but rather, implement stricter rules and regulations in order to prevent damage by fires.
“The amendments are not a ban on beach fires, but they will provide the public with clear rules as to what is allowed and give first responders the clarity needed to enforce regulations — clarity that currently doesn’t exist,” he said.
La Jolla and Pacific Beach representatives say that this action will increase San Diego beaches' value statewide, putting them on par with other beaches throughout California.
“Beachgoers will no longer fear stepping on hot coals buried under the sand or breathing excessive smoke,” said Joe LaCava, who represents La Jolla and Pacific Beach.
With this ban, city officials say people can be fined somewhere between $250 to $1,000 for setting up illegal beach fires.
This new law will go into effect 30 days after San Diego city council approves of this ban consecutively sometime in January.