Campfire Permits

General Information

What kind of fires does it cover? - Campfire permits are required for the use of open fires, such as wood (campfire), barbecues (charcoal) and portable stoves (gas) on federally managed lands. 

What doesn't this permit cover? A campfire permit does not give a person permission to access or camp on National Forest or private lands.

How much do they cost? - Permits are free.

Where can I obtain a permit? - Any Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Office, or Bureau of Land Management office in California.

Visit the California Campfire Permit page at www.preventwildfiresca.org for information on how to obtain a campfire permit online! You must be 18 years of age or older to sign the permit.

How long is the permit good for? - Your campfire permit is valid from the dated issued until the end of the calendar year (December 31st).

Where can I use it? - The permit may be used in any National Forest in Northern California, in the Sierra Nevada, and on Bureau of Land Management land. For the southern California area call the individual forest for local information and regulations.

Fire Restrictions

In a normal year, typical fire restrictions will allow only gas stoves and lanterns. Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited outside of designated campgrounds. Note: in Desolation Wilderness and some areas of the Mokelumne Wilderness only gas equipment is allowed (year round restriction). During a bad fire year, fire restrictions will be more restrictive depending on forest conditions.

  • No Fire Restrictions: Wood, charcoal, and gas fires are allowed in the general forest and some remote campgrounds when in possession of a valid Campfire Permit. The Campfire Permit is not needed in developed campgrounds generally. Check for specific wilderness restrictions.
  • Stage 1: Wood fires (campfires) and charcoal fires (barbeques) are allowed only in designated developed campgrounds on this forest. Gas stoves and lanterns can be used in the general forest when in possession of a valid Campfire PermitNote: additional restrictions on smoking, welding, and operating internal/external combustion engines without a spark arrestor. Check the forest order for details.
  • Stage 2: No Fires are allowed in the forest including the campgrounds. Gas stoves and lanterns can be used in the forest only when in possession of a valid Campfire PermitNote: additional restrictions on smoking, welding, and operating internal/external combustion engines without a spark arrestor. Check the forest order for details.

TERMS OF THE PERMIT

Permittee agrees to the following:

  • Clear all flammable material away from the fire for a minimum of five feet in all directions to prevent escape of the fire. Meadows make poor campsite locations as you will destroy sections of the meadow with the campfire and the clearance.
  • Have a shovel available at the campfire site for preparing and extinguishing campfires.
  • Have a responsible person in attendance at all times. Leave the permit with that person and make sure they are aware of the terms of the permit.
  • Extinguish campfire with water, using the drown, stir, and feel method. If it is to hot to touch than the fire is not out and can re-ignite.

WILDERNESS AREAS

Rules governing the use of wood and open flame fires differ in Wilderness Areas. Eldorado National Forest manages parts of two Wilderness Areas: Desolation Wilderness and Mokelumne Wilderness. Before visiting these areas, find out what you need to know by visiting the Wilderness pages.