While it’s legal to have portable stoves at the beach, the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources states that bonfires set on the ground are prohibited at all state and county beaches and recreational parks.
“I don’t think people know that bonfires are illegal on the sand,” said Suzanne Frazer, President of Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii, or BEACH for short.
Volunteers with BEACH are not happy with the mess people leave behind when they use wooden pallets as kindling for bonfires.
“I couldn’t believe how much is out there,” said organization vice-president Dean Otsuki. “Just bonfire pits after bonfire pits.”
At Alan Davis Beach, KHON2 noticed several bonfire pits with plenty of rusty nails left behind.
“The rusty nails are coming from pallets being burned on bonfires,” Otsuki explained. “The people burning bonfires are not thinking about what’s being left behind after the wood is burned.”
There were also shards of glass, empty liquor bottles, and other odds and ends that could be a nasty surprise if you walk barefoot on the beach. “You can have a very nasty injury from a rusty nail, or a piece of glass that could slash your foot,” said Frazer. “I think the awareness level needs to be raised that this is illegal.”
But Waimanalo beachgoer Devin Hale said a fire on the beach can be done legally. “If you’re going to have a fire, bring your own metal barrel, and burn your own fire in there.”