Bonfires? A Downtown Montauk Ban Warranted

Montauk’s beaches had as many as 100 bonfires on a summer weekend night

Speaking at an Amagansett citizens advisory committee meeting recently, Ed Michels, the East Hampton Town harbormaster and the person in charge of the town’s Marine Patrol, said that Montauk’s beaches had as many as 100 bonfires on a summer weekend night. He told the group that as of next week, town officers would begin enforcing a rule that fires be kindled only in metal containers and that a two-gallon bucket of water be kept within 10 feet of a fire at all times. 

The bucket rule, Mr. Michels suggested, was the aspect most likely to give his officers trouble, since those responsible for bonfires might be unlikely to have the correct equipment. Considering this, and the mess often left behind after nighttime parties, one might think the time has come to do away with downtown Montauk beach fires altogether. One hundred is just too many, if you ask us.

Underscoring the scale of problems on the beaches, Marine Patrol issued more than 2,200 summonses last year, though they weren’t all for bonfire violations, of course. As elected officials look for ways to tame the chaos, eliminating beach fires in the downtown Montauk area would be a good place to start.