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Fire Rings

Beach Fire Rings Now Are Charcoal Only

As of March 24, only charcoal will be allowed for burning in the beach fire rings. Enforcement efforts will begin with warnings and outreach / education efforts as the City realizes some beach visitors will not be aware of the "charcoal only" rule. In time, administrative citations (which carry a first-violation fine of $100) will be issued if a fire ring user chooses not to comply with the new rule.


Newport Beach has concrete fire rings on the beach in two areas: there are 27 fire rings located on Corona del Mar State Beach and 33 fire rings located near the Balboa Pier. Some of the fire rings are located on state property (Corona del Mar), and all of the fire rings are located in the coastal zone. The fire rings are appreciated by many who visit, but also result in extensive and often daily wood smoke released in adjacent residential areas. While many beachgoers come to the beach to enjoy a beach bonfire, others come to the beach for volleyball and other activities, expecting the beach to be smoke-free.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) approved an amendment to Rule 444 – Open Burning on July 12, 2013. Under the measure, beach bonfires will continue to be allowed in Los Angeles and Orange Counties if: 

  • They are located at least 700 feet from the nearest residence; OR
  • They are at least 100 feet apart (If a city has 15 or fewer fire pits, they must be separated by at least 50 feet) and
  • Air quality for fine particulates (PM2.5) in coastal areas is not forecast to exceed 100 on the Air Quality Index. (This is expected to occur infrequently under special meteorological conditions.)

The SCAQMD’s website and information related to the fire rings is available here:

Following the SCAQMD's ruling, the City of Newport Beach (City) has evaluated its options to ensure compliance with the new regulations. Based on the fact that all of the fire rings located in Newport Beach are within 700 feet from the nearest residence and are less than 100 feet apart, on February 11, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 2014-02 designating charcoal as the only alternative fuel that complies with the new regulations. 


Recommended Types of Charcoal

City staff and others tested seven different charcoal types and brands in the fire rings recently. The charcoal produced a pleasant amount of heat and flame and there was a very noticable lack of smoke.  Below are the different types of charcoals and fire starter options that were tested, with cost and purchasing information. They are listed in order of preference.

 Charcoal Types and  PUrchasing Information

Royal Oak Hardwood Lump Charcoal
17.6 pound bag
Purchased from Home Depot for $12.97

 Royal Oak Charcoal

Hardwood Lump Charcoal

20 pound bag

Purchased from The Meat House located at 103 East 17th Street for $14.99

 Hardwood Lump Charcoal

Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal

20 pound bag

Purchased from Crown Hardware located at 3107 East Coast Highway for $14.99

 Cowboy Lump Charcoal

Big Green Egg Briquettes, 100% organic lump charcoal

10 pound bag

Purchased from OC BBQ located at 2000 Harbor Blvd for $23.71 

 Green Egg Charcoal

Best of the West, lump mesquite charcoal

6.6 pound bag

Purchased from Pavilions located at 3100 West Balboa Blvd for $4.74 

 Best of the West Charcoal

Kingsford Matchlight Briquettes

9 pound bag

Purchased from Home Depot for $12.97


Kingsford Match Light

Coshell Coconut Briquettes (100% natural, no additives)

9 pound bag

Purchased from Amazon for $19.22 + shipping 

Coconut Charcoal

Fire Starter Options
Purchased from Crown Hardware located at 3107 East Coast Highway


Weber Lighter Cubes

Pack of 24 for $5.99


Ignite-O Instant Fire Starter Packets

Pack of 20 for $8.99


Coleman Butane Lighter


Fire Starters
(Items are listed in the order of preference)




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Last updated: 4/1/2014 8:15:15 AM