Carmel Beach bonfires go down in flame

Bonfire controversy on Carmel Beach is old news.

Although the Carmel City Council plans for fire pits on Carmel Beach were finalized last May, none of the 26 proposed rings have actually been built.

Mayor Jason Burnett comments that fire pits were proposed to solve the air quality problem years back. However, an air study earlier this year revealed dangerous levels of a substance called PM2.5, a coarse particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in length.

These findings have prolonged the construction of fire pits due to further investigation of the pits’ effects on public health. The PM2.5 levels also required an emergency course of action.

“We worked with our Forest and Beach Commission to develop a pilot program that would limit the number of fires and make sure the fires were off the sand,” Burnett explains. “We decided to focus on the days with the highest levels of PM2.5 and to put in place a temporary ban on beach fires on [weekends] and holidays.”

The ban was originally set to last 40 days, but was extended to 10 months in September due to continued investigation of air quality by the Coastal Commission. However, this ban may now be overturned due to the question of its validity.
-Melissa Pavloff