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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Lifeguards urge caution with bonfires at San Diego beaches

The reminder comes as more San Diegans continue to head to beaches amid pandemic restrictions and summer-like temperatures that have continued into fall.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego lifeguards and fire officials are speaking out about safety concerns when it comes to using fire pits at local beaches.

A weekend night out may look a little different nowadays during the pandemic, but the crackle of a bonfire could bring a little comfort as the weather begins to change.

"We want to continue to encourage people to enjoy the fire squares - just safely,” Lifeguard Sgt. Lonnie Stephens said. “With schools not being in, we have seen an increase in beach crowds.”

The reminder comes as more San Diegans continue to head to area beaches amid pandemic restrictions and summer-like temperatures that have continued into fall. 

With more people using the fire pits, lifeguards and the fire department said there are some important rules that everyone must follow.

  1. The fire has to be inside the designated cement barrier. 
  2. You should only burn clean wood. That means nothing with paint, nails, fabric or plastic. 
  3. Always clean up any messes made.
  4. Continue to social distance while around the fire.

“When you’re burning treated wood with chemicals and you are sitting around the fire, you are inhaling those chemicals and it is also bad for the environment,” Stephens said.

Beachgoers are also encouraged to report any illegal activity. 

Some cities like Carlsbad have chosen to remove the fire rings for the duration of the pandemic. That’s not the case in San Diego and La Jolla.

RELATED: Cooler days are on the way

Lifeguards say they are hopeful that everyone will be able to continue to enjoy the evenings at the coast by firelight. 

“As long as they conduct themselves around the fire ring and observe the rules, we can keep everybody safe,” Stephens said.

If you are considering a bonfire and can’t remember the rules the good news is there are signs posted near the beaches where it is allowed.

RELATED: Heat wave persists in San Diego County but relief will arrive this weekend