Tisbury selectmen address concerns over Tashmoo Beach bonfires

Looking west from Tashmoo jetty Makonikey Point is in the distance. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling raised the issue of bonfires on Tashmoo Beach at the end of Herring Creek Road with selectmen Tuesday night. Mr. Schilling said the area is an increasingly popular beach for nighttime bonfires, and he described the situation as “out of control.”

Selectmen and Chief Schilling agreed that there was a need to find a way for the public to continue to use the beach in both a safe and smart way. The somewhat secluded area is at the end of Herring Creek Road, a long and in spots rutted dirt road.

Selectmen Tristan Israel recommended that Department of Public Works, police, fire department, selectmen, and the town administrator come up with a management plan on how to handle public use of the beach. Requiring a fire permit was one solution selectmen discussed.

Chief Schilling said that although the fire risk was minimal, his concern was for public safety the next day. Some of the fires were still burning into the next morning. He said that people weren’t being responsible, and that they were leaving their trash on the beach.

Selectmen voted unanimously to have a plan by the first week of November. They also asked Tisbury Police Chief Dan Hanavan to step up patrolling for the remaining clement weekends.