Bonfires Allowed Back To Ocean Beach
Apr. 14 - KGO (KGO) -- Bonfires are returning to San Francisco's Ocean Beach - almost a year after they were banned. Back then, the U.S. Park Service said it didn't have enough rangers to handle environmental and safety concerns.
Two new fire pits were installed Saturday and eventually there will be a dozen new fire pits all along Ocean Beach. The idea is to allow beachgoers to continue to enjoy open fires, but in a more controlled manner, unlike the scattered small fires that have been all along this beach in the past and that park police said cause a lot of trouble. The new pits resemble sculptures and were created by eight local artists that used steel and concrete and other materials.
The community group "Burners Without Borders" raised about $30,000 dollars to commission the pits. They still need about $15,000 dollars more to finish the project. The park service wanted to ban beach fires because officers said it was too hard to police, and people left behind a mess of burned debris and trash. Fires will no longer be allowed on the open sand, but people can enjoy using the new fire pits, first come, first served.
Carmen Mauk, Burners Without Borders: "We are losing our connection every day to natural elements especially in this city it's harder and harder to connect to nature. We are lucky to live here. What we really had was a community problem is caring for the beach."
Ofc. Steven Polianos, US Park Service: You have high visitation in the summer time and lot of people come out and want to have the fires at Ocean Beach. And this will make it a little bit easier, a little more controlled with the fire pits, hopefully it will help keep the beach cleaner as well."
"Burners Without Borders" hopes, unlike before, that people will clean up their old fires before they start a new one and be more vigilant about taking away their trash. For 30 days park police will give warnings for only people that start fires outside the pits.
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