Not necessarily – that is, if all goes safely the fire is contained. Seattle considered banning beach bonfires, citing the excessive use of lumber that is essentially “wasted” for these events. The burning wood also emits C02, which is known for contributing to global warming. All in all, though, it seems that bonfires are among the least of our environmental concerns.
Bonfires release carbon dioxide into the air, contributing to greenhouse gases and global warming. The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department thought beach bonfires were bad enough to threaten banning them last year but were met with public opposition.
Beach bonfires are also bad because people tend to bring all kinds of stuff to burn including couches and pallets which release chemicals into the air and scatter things like nails which can puncture the feet of beachgoers.
Beaches have varying regulations on allowing bonfires. I’ve visited beaches throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Ecuador. In some places, there aren’t rules, and in other beach regions, it’s prohibited. In some cases, there are strict requirements, and you need to contact the ranger or other official to get a permit. Granting of the permit can depend on things like wind speed and the time of day you plan you have the fire; you might also need a driver’s license or other documentation to be given permission. If you start a beach bonfire, you must be careful that the flames don’t spread to dune grasses or other flammable vegetation, potentially destroying these species that hold the coastal ecosystem together. Starting the fire as close to the water as possible is usually advised.
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