North Myrtle Beach leaders vote unanimously to ban open flames on the beach

The ban goes into effect immediately
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 5:02 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Beach fires in North Myrtle Beach are a thing of the past.

North Myrtle Beach City Council members voted in favor of an ordinance Monday night to ban fires on the beach.

The proposed ordinance reads as follows:

Sec. 5-26 Fires Prohibited: “It shall be unlawful for any person to build, start, ignite, or maintain any fire or open flame or use any propane-fired grill, cooker, or heating device heated by fire on any public beach, public beach access, street end adjacent to the beach, or any government land immediately adjacent to the beach. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to punishment as provided in section 1-6, General Penalty. This section shall not apply to any fire-related activities conducted by the City of North Myrtle Beach.”

North Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Garry Spain proposed the ordinance for safety reasons.

As written, the ordinance would longer allow any open flames on their beach jurisdictions. This includes using propane-fired grills and cookers.

Spain says in the past, there have been a number of close calls related to open fires on the beach.

This is why he says it’s time to stop open flames - altogether.

“We can give someone approval to have an open flame on the beach on Monday but the open flame is on Friday and the wind conditions could change. It’s just a constant battle with us, in trying to maintain the safety of our visitors and our citizens of the city with what we currently have with those open flames allowed on the beach,” Spain said.

Spain says in the past, there have been way too many close calls because of open flames.

Several times out of the year, the rescue will respond to a fire that spreads to the sea oats on the beach.

Those sea oats help to protect the dunes.

The fire chief says more needs to be done to prevent these fires from ever happening again.

“We have special equipment that we bring to the beach to handle these calls, well it takes some time for those apparatus to get here,” Spain said.

There are some families who may not be on board without the option to grill on the beach. Spain says this ordinance doesn’t take away your ability to grill elsewhere

“This does not change anything your hotel allows you to do, this does not change anything our citizens are allowed to do in their home. This is simply eliminating the open burning on the beach,” Spain said.

Spain said the proposed ordinance only requires one reading.

The new changes go into effect immediately.

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