The Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce the number of fire rings at beaches in town from 60 to 27.
The council, which lit the statewide air-quality debate last year when it initially voted to extinguish beach bonfires, also moved forward with plans to test new rings fueled by natural gas.
The council's action will leave Big Corona with 12 fire pits and the Balboa Pier area with 15. And rings will be placed at least 50 feet apart, as specified by rules the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board of Directors imposed in July to start in March 2014.
Before the City Council vote, several residents spoke in favor of removing fire rings, saying they often smoke out their beachfront homes. That forces them to shut their windows, even when it's hot out.
Because the council's action last year brought all California beach bonfires to the attention of state regulators—and resulted in orders to move or remove rings in cities besides Newport Beach—those local residents have been labeled by everyone from average folks to state legislators as elitists, NIMBYs and enemies of the Golden State's beach traditions.