Why burning pallets at the beach is a bad idea

Why burning pallets at the beach is a bad idea
Photo courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

NEWPORT, Ore. - If you think taking a few pallets to the coast and building a bonfire with them is a good idea, think again.

What's the big deal, you ask?

Think about it - pallets have nails and staples in them and what happens once the wood is burned? Those sharp objects end up buried in the sand - and can easily end up in someone's foot, or worse. The same goes for construction lumber or debris - they can leave behind some dangerous stuff.

The Newport High School Surfrider Foundation Club, along with some other volunteers, recently spent time cleaning up fire debris at Nye Beach and Agate Wayside, both of which seem to be popular spots for burning pallets.

They found plenty of dangerous items during the cleanup - in fact there was so much of it that they turned the debris into a 'nail sculpture.'

An art project by the Newport High School Surfrider Foundation Club. The piece is made with fire debris found on two Oregon coast beaches. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The group is planning on heading back out to the beaches this weekend for another cleanup.

"These are great projects," said Charlie Plybon with the non-profit Surfrider Foundation. "But we can't count on volunteers to clean nails buried in the sand. We have to stop this problem at the source."

"You can enjoy Oregon's public ocean shore and make sure the next visitor is going to have just as much fun," said Shirley Stentz, regional support manager for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

So now that you know, here are the rules from the state:

  • Use natural, untreated wood
  • The wood size has to be 3' x 3' or smaller, unless you have a permit from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
  • When you're done with the fire, drown it out with water. Don't bury it.

And one last thing - there are some areas along the coast that currently have fire restrictions in place and beach fires are banned. Check with the parks department before you head out.