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State: No ground fires on public beaches

By Staff | Dec 30, 2010

HONOLULU — The state Department of Land and Natural Resources reminds the public that it is illegal to have ground fires — whether bonfires or for cooking — on public beaches.

Coals must be completely extinguished and disposed of in a receptacle designed for that purpose, not buried in the sand.

On Dec. 11, a four-year-old boy was badly burned on his foot after stepping in some buried charcoal at Nanakuli (“Tracks”) Beach on Oahu. The coals may have been left by an individual barbecuing on the beach.

“Under state law, it is illegal to have fires on Hawaii’s beaches. In recent years, a young boy was seriously injured by hidden embers from a fire on a beach on Maui. Another child was burned by buried coals on Bellows Beach. Injuries on the beach from unauthorized fires are preventable,” said William J. Aila Jr., DLNR interim chair.

“We ask for the public’s kokua to voluntarily comply with these necessary safety requirements in order to protect our families and especially young ones.”

Ground and open fires are prohibited on all state beaches and state recreational areas. Open fires can escape and cause major blazes in adjacent areas.

Cooking fires are only allowed in devices specifically designed to contain the fires.

Do not discard hot coals near tree stumps or in undesignated areas — coals burn tree roots and can kill the tree.

Hot coals used for cooking should be fully extinguished by dousing them with water. Turn them over to ensure they are out, then dispose of them in a designated container designed for that purpose. Or, when they are fully extinguished and cool to the touch, take them home to dispose of safely.

Never dump coals on the beach and bury them in the sand. They can smolder and retain their heat for a long time.

Anyone who sees an illegal fire — or a fire that is a danger to people or property — should call the Maui Fire Department via 9-1-1.