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Getting a campfire permit in California

Campfires, a quintessential part of outdoor adventures, require careful management and adherence to safety protocols to prevent unintended wildfires.

Before setting up a campfire, make sure to get a permit from a CAL FIRE, U.S. Forest Service, or BLM office. This permit is valid for the whole year, but remember to check local rules, as some places might restrict campfires, especially when there’s a high risk of fires in the area.

Apply for your campfire permit.

campfire safety infographic

Follow these campfire safety practices

Building and enjoying a campfire responsibly is crucial for protecting the natural landscape and keeping people safe. Follow these steps to ensure your campfire is both enjoyable and safe.

  • Select safe location: Choose a flat, open location away from potential fire hazards like logs, brush, or dry leaves.
  • Clear the area: Clear a 10-foot radius down to the soil, removing all flammable materials.
  • Make a fire bed: Create a shallow depression in the center of this cleared area, surround it with a circle of rocks, and prepare your wood.
  • Prepare the wood: Cut your wood into short lengths, stack it within the cleared space, and light the fire. Remember, the fire should only be as big as necessary for your needs and must always be monitored.

  • Safety tools: While enjoying the warmth of your campfire, always keep safety tools like a shovel and bucket of water within arm’s reach.
  • Adult supervision: It’s crucial that an adult is always present to monitor the fire, ensuring it remains controlled.
  • Child safety: Extra care should be taken to ensure children are supervised around the fire at all times, preventing any accidents.

Use the “drown, stir & feel” method to extinguish your campfire:

  • Drown: Drown the fire with water, then stir around the fire area with your shovel to wet any remaining embers and ash. Turn over any wood pieces and soak all sides thoroughly.
  • Stir: Add soil to the fire bed and mix thoroughly to smother any remaining heat.
  • Feel: Confirm the fire is out by feeling for heat with the back of your hand. The area should be cool to the touch.

All about campfire permits in California

Learn more about local fire regulations and how to secure a campfire permit in California for a safe camping experience in our free guide.

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