ALKI BEACH: Fire rings removed after months of misuse

(WSB photos)

Thanks for the tips. A Seattle Parks crew has been out on Alki Beach this morning, removing the fire rings and cleaning up the debris/trash left behind. The fire rings have technically been “closed” for months but Seattle Fire crews have been called out many nights because people have set fires on or near them anyway.

And indeed, Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin confirmed to WSB after we photographed the ring removal this morning: “Fire rings have been locked all summer to prevent the crowding and congregating that happens with beach fires. Folks were lighting fires on top of the pits, so we are removing them for now.”

72 Replies to "ALKI BEACH: Fire rings removed after months of misuse"

  • StoneBuddha July 23, 2020 (11:51 am)

    And this is why we can’t have nice things….

    • Alki July 23, 2020 (1:37 pm)

      UGH.  Yeah…. I hope they can come back someday.  

    • Suds July 23, 2020 (2:50 pm)

      Dad! Go back to the den! :-)

    • Rick July 23, 2020 (8:37 pm)

      Gotta make work for city folk.

      • August 4, 2020 (3:28 pm)

        If people cleaned up after themselves and acted responsibly the city (i.e., us) could save some money.

  • The Rog July 23, 2020 (11:55 am)

    I have seen many people setting fires on the beach in any location they want. Last week I saw every fire ring in use and at least three additional fires not near existing fire pits. Who do we contact when this is happening? The parks department? The police? The police had a van there that night, but weren’t ticketing.

    • WSB July 23, 2020 (12:11 pm)

      As I mentioned, SFD responds almost nightly – I have heard the calls and seen them on the log (“illegal burn” is the classification). So I believe you start with a 911 call.

  • WSFan July 23, 2020 (11:56 am)

    Good luck. People have fires up and down the beach, anywhere and everywhere.  By the end of the summer the sand will be mostly charcoal.  Also, fireworks still going off nightly down here.

  • Andrea July 23, 2020 (12:06 pm)

    and….once again ,because of the behaviour of a few  irresponsible self absorbed people, the public can’t have good things. 

    • Elizabeth July 23, 2020 (9:37 pm)

      Sounds like the removal is temporary—aligned with them being closed anyway for the foreseeable future of covid. So shouldn’t affect anyone trying to use them lawfully. 

  • Anne July 23, 2020 (12:09 pm)

    Thanks to all those who just couldn’t show respect -not just for rules – but how about for the privilege to have a great beach/park? Did it ever occur to them- that we should be the caretakers of this beautiful place?  Instead they think nothing of trashing it. As often happens-a few ruin things for all. 

  • flimflam July 23, 2020 (12:12 pm)

    active enforcement of basic laws would be nice …

    • Anonymous Coward July 23, 2020 (12:54 pm)

      You can’t fine people who don’t have any money. And if you’re on record stating you won’t imprison anyone for “non-violent” offenses…

      • AdmiralE July 23, 2020 (1:58 pm)


      • flimflam July 23, 2020 (4:32 pm)

        people that hang out at Alki don’t have any money to pay fines? wha? also, i am fully in support of jailing “non-violent” offenders, especially repeat-repeat-repeat ones.

        • MG July 23, 2020 (5:56 pm)

          I agree with you but I’ll go a bit further.  Anyone that breaks the law (money or not) lock them up.  That’s the big problem here. No consequences!!

          • CG July 24, 2020 (7:38 am)

            I’m totally against people lighting illegal fires at the beach, but having someone there to just dump water on the fire seems like a lot cheaper, safer, effective option than locking everyone up. I hope you all aren’t serious about that. Seems like you’re not really thinking that through.

        • StoneBuddha July 24, 2020 (5:35 pm)

          @CG I get the sentiment, and even some of the practicality. But what would your proposal be to keep people from doing the illegal thing? Having someone just put out the fire seems enabling.

    • Frog July 23, 2020 (4:21 pm)

      Welcome back from vacation to whatever far-away place you went for a long time.  A lot happened here while you were gone — let me catch you up.  We no longer like the police.  Enforcement of laws has gone out of style.  Anyone who didn’t get the message is known as “Karen.”

  • Vanessa July 23, 2020 (12:40 pm)

    I am happy for the residents of Alki Beach.

  • TJ July 23, 2020 (12:47 pm)

    Active enforcement? You do know how that’s going right now in this city? 150 people pillaged parts of Capital Hill last night, looting stores and setting fires in the streets. Police stood by with not 1 arrest. Why should decent law abiding citizens be held to a higher standard of behavior? I grew up here and can promise you the 1980’s had more fires down there. And perhaps the fire rings could be sent up to Capital Hill

    • heartless July 23, 2020 (2:22 pm)

      Why should decent law abiding citizens be held to a higher standard of behavior?”

      I mean, nobody is talking about fining “decent law-abiding citizens”.  That’d be weird.

      We’re talking about more enforcement along Alki, and fining and discouraging people from having illegal fires.  

    • Teo July 24, 2020 (10:21 am)

      Grew up here but don’t know it’s Capitol Hill? Sure you did..

  • Jammie July 23, 2020 (12:54 pm)

    Wish I could remove fie pits that people build in their yards. The smoke goes into my house and my house smells like a camp fire 🔥 and once it was so bad I thought my house was on fire.         People will just make fires on the beach and children and people will burn their feet on hot buried coals that have been covered with sand.  

    • 1994 July 23, 2020 (9:09 pm)

      I agree the backyard fires are a disaster for neighbors who’s homes get full of campfire smoke! One night I went inside and could see the smoke hanging in the air inside. Unhealthy and stinky!  Living in a city requires everyone to think of others on a daily basis.

      • Smokey the Bear July 24, 2020 (9:29 pm)

        @jammie & @1994 you could talk with your neighbors and  the fire loving Folks that are letting their good time get into your house and space. Make friends, have a conversation and strike up a discussion about how the smoke is impacting you. I hope that your diplomacy and better yet, your interest in those around you would help defray any animosity. I bet they don’t know it is an issue. 

  • anonyme July 23, 2020 (12:57 pm)

    Remove them permanently.  Open fires, anywhere and for any reason, should be actively discouraged.  The world is burning, and campfire days are over.

  • Duffy July 23, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    During this pandemic, every day I am reminded that the world is full of petulant children who think the rules don’t apply to them and that they can do what they want regardless of anyone else. It’s embarrassing.

    • Xman July 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

      The world, not so much. The USA, definitely. Because freedom. 

      • Duffy July 23, 2020 (7:31 pm)


      • Bunnyfer July 23, 2020 (10:17 pm)

        Because free-dumb. 

  • Kevin July 23, 2020 (1:49 pm)

    This is just going to have the opposite of the intended effect and lead to people making fires wherever they want now. The whole beach is filled with burnt charcoal clumps. Unless they also clean the beach, the signal looks a lot more like “burn wherever you want”. Without a fire pit in sight and plenty of evidence of fires, people will burn more and in more places. Clean the beach up. Sift the sand if you have to. Right now the beach looks like a giant burn pit with a welcome sign. At least the pits being locked sent the signal fires shouldn’t exist. This just opens the floodgates.

  • Cami July 23, 2020 (1:55 pm)

    Did they say in any of your correspondences when they are coming back?

  • Yma July 23, 2020 (2:21 pm)

    Sitting around a fire at the beach can be soothing, retain connections & also be distanced at this time.Sitting next to the water & looking into the flames, chatting, sharing stories, making s’mores – is kind of a wonderful thing.perhaps the fire pits can be reserved? As the picnic structures in Lincoln Park once were?

  • Alki EMO July 23, 2020 (2:59 pm)

    Without enforcement, this will do little. Every night after Parks asks folks politely to leave, people pretend to leave, and then set up again. Some don’t even pretend to leave. The police have not been by before midnight in weeks, my front window looks directly at the beach and we see at least 5 fires out of pits every night. I feel like the lack of police presence is a direct response to the Defund SPD proposal. The police are out during the day when nothing bad really happens, but even that is less than during regular summers. We can’t even open our windows to get fresh air because of all the fires and fireworks that still get shot every night. People know they can do this and that is the problem. When cops are present and visible, no insanely loud motorcycles, no fireworks, no fires, no shootings…hmmm. 

    • Wsprayers July 24, 2020 (4:01 am)

      I was there last tuesday i think it was and there was the police precinct mobil at the beach im not sure what they were doing but there was fires on the beach we were there until it got dark there was not enforcement i mean their precence was known but they didnt do anything to stop anyond from using the fire pits 

  • Lee Kelly July 23, 2020 (3:07 pm)

    Great… now we will have more illegal fires in the sand and against our driftwood was a dumb idea to close them and it’s a dumb idea to take them away!Bureaucrats ! It won’t stop people from building fires whatsoever!

  • anonyme July 23, 2020 (3:22 pm)

    Or, just sit and look at the water, chat, have a beverage.  Neither fire (nor s’mores) are necessary components of relaxation.

  • Joe July 23, 2020 (3:41 pm)

    Everyday I walk Alki in the early AM, the beach is totally covered with litter!  It is so disgusting to see our beautiful Alki covered in litter!  Where is the respect to keep our outside places clean not to mention the constant speeding and loud noise vehicles!  TERRIBLE & SO SAD!!

    • John July 24, 2020 (11:34 am)

      Agreed, I walk along the beach every morning as well and the amount of garbage that people leave during the late day/night is amazing. I guess I don’t understand why someone needs to be told to clean up their mess!  I think they just don’t care.  The rules don’t apply to them and there is no fear of enforcement. 

  • Tim July 23, 2020 (5:02 pm)

    I assume most of the people are visiting from elsewhere. If the park closes in the evenings, why not restrict parking more? The bars can’t serve anything, and the restaurants are further restricted. If the can’t being their cars, they won’t bring their coolers.

  • Jim July 23, 2020 (5:51 pm)

    Why lock them up? Everyone knew they would just build fires on top of the things. And now they’re gone they’ll build fires on the sand. 

  • alkigrl July 23, 2020 (8:23 pm)

    Honestly, had no idea the bonfires were off limits and I live 2 blocks from the beach. If they’re forbidden per COVID, should have been removed at the outset … of course if they’re on the beach they’re gonna be used. doh.  

    • LiveOnAlki July 24, 2020 (9:58 am)

      there are signs on every light post that say fires in the sand are illegal and list a fine $ amount. Any fire outside the pits is illegal pandemic or not. The fire pits were chained over, an obvious sign that they weren’t to be used, and yet fires were just being built on top of them, or next to them. I see fires every single night.

  • Jade Kelly July 23, 2020 (9:50 pm)

    I agree with most of sentiments expressed. I don’t live on the beach, (anymore) but I’m down there almost everyday that the sun is out. I’ve yet to see anyone, other than myself, pick up and dispose of random trash. I spent 10 min on Tuesday picking up broken glass off the main boardwalk. Not one “concerned local”, stopped, helped, or commented. This was at 4pm by the way. So stop crying and maybe pitch in. Just like the old anti litter slogan. Just my two cents

    • Alkilocal July 24, 2020 (9:20 am)

      6Jade Kelly – Alki locals walk early in the morning, and during the pandemic is the only time it is safe to do so to avoid unmasked visitors. There are a number of these early morning walkers who clean up the mess on the sidewalks and beach each morning, including removing graffiti from buildings with solvent and a scrub brush. This has been their habit for many years to keep the Alki neighborhood clean for the locals and visitors. 

    • Reality Chick July 24, 2020 (9:24 am)

      Well you are not looking very hard. I am an Alki resident and pick up trash on my daily walks with my dog (always on leash)–have been doing so for years. But the amount of trash since the restrictions have started is like nothing I have ever seen. Talk to the parks staff who will tell you the same (and thank them for doing the dirty work for so many thoughtless people). And there have been fireworks set off nightly for almost a month straight, too, btw, for those who so inaccurately said that fireworks only happen for a few hours once a year. We always say Alki Beach gets loved to death in the summer…how very true so far this year.

  • Rob July 23, 2020 (11:31 pm)

    11:27 PM, the fires are back.   Right now I’ve closed the windows and turned on the portable AC because of smoke.  Fires + AC, neither good for the environment.     I saw the fires burning earlier, then they appeared out, they are now burning again.  Are the fires really being put out?  Is this a game?  Are the Fire Dept and Police being honest?  Does anyone give a rip about anything anymore?

  • Kathy July 23, 2020 (11:32 pm)

    If visitors had to come to Alki by either walking, biking or taking the bus, would we have all the problems of abusive use and large gatherings without social distancing that we are seeing?  I suspect the average citizen would be too lazy to choose one of these options.  It would be an interesting experiment for one weekend with a sunny forecast to close Harbor and Alki Avenues to all but local traffic. Maybe allow an exception if you can show you have a reservation time at one of the local restaurants. It might slow down the virus spreading in our neighborhood for one weekend at least.

    • Teo July 24, 2020 (10:38 am)

      You want to restrict it to locals only? Wow! How about whites only bathrooms Kathy? Sound good to you?

  • Rob July 23, 2020 (11:40 pm)

    Fires pollute and contribute to global warming and illness. They release carbon and noxious fumes.   When the  smoke gets into peoples homes (which is whenever there are fires) we close the windows and turn on AC, which further contributes to global warming.   The time for enjoying a fire by the beach is behind us.  We need to move forward with respect and concern for the environment, the future and each other.  There is an alternative.  That alternative does not include the human species.   A.K.A.   grandchildren.

  • ThxSFD July 23, 2020 (11:50 pm)

    SFD just drove by on Alki Ave and, through the loud speaker, told the late beach goers to put out the fire. I can open my windows now for some fresh air. Thanks SFD!

  • TJ July 24, 2020 (6:58 am)

    What a odd post Rob. The good old days are over?

    • Rob July 24, 2020 (10:37 am)

      Haven’t you gotten the memo?  Yes, the good ole days are over, as they should be.  What’s odd about that?  End the beach fires. While we are otherwise reducing carbon emissions at the cost of core aspects of our  economy, why should we overlook an easily expendable pleasure?

      • Ron Swanson July 24, 2020 (12:46 pm)

        Firewood is carbon neutral: all the CO2 released into the atmosphere was recently taken out of it by the tree.  So we’ll just keep burning on the sand, thanks!

  • Chris July 24, 2020 (7:37 am)

    Free West Seattle. Let’s become our own municipality. We could have a police shelter permanently at Alki. And we could charge non W. Seattle residents admission or parking.

    • John July 24, 2020 (11:38 am)

      Yes!  I agree.

  • Alki resident July 24, 2020 (8:01 am)

    Sadly It seems many people don’t take their social responsibility seriously, shouldn’t that come With consequences? Currently parking is free on Alki maybe we should have residents stickers so we get free parking and visitors should pay. Then use the money to maintain our neighborhood and beach. If people are going to have fires and bring dogs on the beach anyway, how about a paid permit system and then like parking enforcement have attendants who like parking enforcement have a legal ability to actually enforce them? 

    • Community Member July 24, 2020 (2:13 pm)

      It’s a public park. You don’t get to turn it into a private enclave.

  • John July 24, 2020 (11:46 am)

    What concerns me is that every nice night we have thousands of folks waking and biking enjoying the path from Alki Beach all the way up to the freeway ramp.  Yet, at the same time we have motorcycles doing wheelies, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and cars racing as well. There are no barricades that protect the people along the paths, some irresponsible driver of one of these vehicles is going to have an accident and injure, or worse, innocent people.  Why does our city allow this behavior that is so dangerous, every nice night?

    • Rick July 24, 2020 (3:00 pm)

      It’s fun making up your own facts. Plus, you get to be right all the time. Everybody needs to live in your world.

  • anonyme July 24, 2020 (1:15 pm)

    Rob, I completely agree with you.  Open fires should be banned everywhere.  The planet is suffocating, and we along with it.  Wake up, grow up – things can’t continue the way they were, no matter how much you wax nostalgic for the past.  Your actions have an impact on all around you.  I see an undeniable resemblance between climate deniers and maskholes, and that is self-absorbed conceit and disregard for others.  The desire to live as if there’s no tomorrow pretty much guarantees that outcome.

    • zark00 July 24, 2020 (3:55 pm)

      Good to be earth conscious of course but you’re going overboard on the ban all open fires thing.  There are MUCH bigger fish to fry, burning wood is as close to carbon neutral as you can really get, and honestly the siding on your house probably off-gasses more harmful chemicals into the environment than open fires around you. If you use natural gas, it’s a lot more harmful than burning wood.  You should consider moving off of any non-sustainable fuels and change to sustainable fuels like wood. If you use electricity, unless it’s all solar, it’s also more damaging to the environment than burning wood.  If you really research the environmental cost of how we get our energy, solar panels and a fireplace would be a huge improvement over a giant damn.

  • TJ July 24, 2020 (2:22 pm)

    Yeah ok Rob & Anonyme, recreational beach fires contribute to global warming about as as much as spitting into a pool raises the water level. Its really all symbolic though. Next it will be backyard bbq’s are bad.

  • Mj July 24, 2020 (2:56 pm)

    This is getting ridiculous, if the City has money to burn, pardon the pun, I’m sure there are more pressing needs than removing the fire pits at Alki.  

  • Wheezing in Admiral July 24, 2020 (7:40 pm)

    These fires (before and during current public health crisis) have always been a problem.  Have never understood why they were still allowed given their negative impact on health, climate and air quality.  The fires are more frequent during the summer, just when you want to be able to have your windows open and catch a breeze at the end of a hot day.  For asthmatics , smoke from the fires trigger significant breathing issues. Despite letters, emails, etc.,  I’ve written in the past to the EPA, Puget Sound Air Quality, and our council members, no action, not even a response resulted.   Too bad it has taken a pandemic to remove the fire pits…….but I can still smell smoke tonight… more action may be needed. (I know…..”good luck with that”!)  And sadly, the reason for removal was to deter congregating.  Hope this will be a permanent decision and maybe those of us in the neighborhoods upwind will have a chance to breathe again. 

  • Mr. Crabby Pants July 24, 2020 (7:41 pm)

    Um there not fires m-kay.There like autonomous arson zones to bring attention to the fact that even with all that funding the fire department never prevents fires BEFORE they happen m-kay.Like, we just we want to bring attention to this injustice AFABI live next to a train track and write letters to the “man” all the time because they make sooo much noise.  Why can’t they just move it for me.  Like, living on Alki and bitching about fires and kids and stuff.Get off my beach you little bastards.  No fun allowed.

  • Charles Cesmat July 25, 2020 (12:38 am)

    Fine them… until there is an actually monetary consequence I don’t see people changing behavior! :(  No need for police… humans will always make the right decision… lol. #Prayfortheworld 

  • Pat Davis July 25, 2020 (11:46 am)

    Keep in mind that wood smoke is 12 TIMES  more toxic than a cigarette….yep:  EPA research.  We all know that cigarette smoke can kill you – let alone 12 TIMES as strong. So when you burn wood in your back yard, fireplace or beach pits remember you are polluting the air and damaging people’s health.  Just so you know that :)  Meanwhile: yes, the Park Dept has become TYRANTS !

  • Burned Up July 25, 2020 (10:23 pm)

    I’m in favor of pushing to change the regulations within Seattle city limits with specific regard to wood smoke, open pit burning (of any kind).  If it’s 49 degrees or warmer there should be no burning – period.  First fine is $1000.  If juveniles are found doing it, their parents get bill.  It’s ridiculous that anyone has to deal with wood smoke in their home when it’s 75 degrees out during the day and most us don’t have AC (meaning you cannot just close up your home).   I think we should pursue it with the city council.

  • Alki Heights July 25, 2020 (10:35 pm)

    Just walked the beach. Counted 13 campfires.

  • Alkimark July 27, 2020 (3:39 pm)

    If you really want change make sure you vote for pro police candidates.  We currently have none.

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