There are few things as quintessentially summery as relaxing with a few friends at a beach bonfire—especially in Southern California, where the pastime has become an icon of the season. However, the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is looking to ban bonfires, citing concerns about pollution and climate change.
"One fire pit burning one night, a few hours, a couple bundles of wood, emits as much as one average diesel truck on the road today driving over 500 miles," Dr. Philip Fine, of the AQMD, told Fox News.
According to Fox News, the AQMD suggests ceasing beach bonfires and removing the concrete fire pits that line the beaches of the region. Naturally, the suggestion is irking beachgoers who want to preserve the staple of So-Cal summer.
"I would be super bummed if they banned bonfires on the beach because it's such a California thing," Los Angeles resident Liz Corona told Fox News. "It's such a fun, social thing to do with friends. And, um, I feel like it's not really doing any harm, so why would they ban them?"
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However, regulators say that there is also a significant health risk.
"There's a lot of studies that definitely show that wood smoke, as well as just particulate matter in general, are very harmful to health," Fine said. "There's people living very close to these fire pits who tell us that they have smoke in their house, that they have respiratory problems, and this causes them to aggravate those respiratory problems."
This push to snuff out bonfires is part of a greater trend sweeping the state, where regulations on beaches have upset many Californians, according to a New York Times report.
“I go to the beach today, and there are signs that say, ‘No drinking, no glass, no this, no that,’” said Jane Schmauss, 68, a historian at the California Surf Museum told The Times. “I want to write, ‘No fun’ at the bottom, because that’s going to be the next thing they outlaw. Or ‘No laughing.’”