The much anticipated AQMD Staff report has been released. In it are new definitions of Rule 444 and 445:
A new definition is added for “beach burning” which is prohibited beginning January 1, 2015 under this amendment. However, using charcoal and liquid/gaseous fuels for cooking at beaches is still permitted. Other types of recreational, ceremonial, or open burning remain exempt, such as those at regional parks and camp grounds not covered by the new definition… Under PAR 444 a city or county could, through formal action, make the prohibition sooner than January 1, 2015.
Background: Last year the Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove its 60 fire rings. The next step was to seek Coastal Commission permission, but the issue was derailed at the recent March meeting as 4 commissioners sit on their respective air quality boards, including Dr. Burke who Chairs the South Coast Air Quality Management District which is responsible for what we breathe in the 4 counties of LA, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside, 41% of the population of the State of California. The Coastal Commission deferred this issue to their ‘sister agency’ and will reconsider Newport Beach’s application again in June.
Today’s AQMD Staff report is queued up for Board review May 3rd.
Under the proposed revisions to Rule 444, Newport Beach already qualifies for immediate removal of its fire rings — 27 at Big Corona and 33 on the Balboa peninsula.