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Bonfires in Balboa, Big Corona coming to an end as Newport Beach votes to remove pits

March 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Newport Beach City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to remove all 60 fire pits at Big Corona state beach and the Balboa Pier area.

The council cited health concerns as the primary reason for the controversial decision, but also said they want a cleaner beach and to save the $50,000 it costs every year to maintain the pits.

"We say you can't smoke on our public beaches, you can't smoke in our public parks. This is a logical step," said the city's mayor, Nancy Gardner.

She conceded that "people don't like it." The rings have been popular with beachgoers as far back as the 1960s.

"It's a shame to see them go," said Balboa resident Patrick Moore. "They're in a good, open spot. I remember coming to them as a kid and having a lot of fun. To my knowledge they don't create any trouble."

Some beachfront residents and other beachgoers complained about the smoke and mess created by the pits.

"There are still lots of things to do at the beach, but also if your idea of fun is really tied to the fire rings, then Huntington Beach, our neighboring city, they have 200," Gardner said. "You don't have to drive very far to have that enjoyment."

The City Council still has to obtain a permit from the California Coastal Commission in order to remove the fire pits.


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