Beach Fires Within Point Reyes National Seashore

A night-time photo of a man sitting next to a small wood fire on a beach under starry skies.
A visitor keeping warm on Limantour Beach on a clear winter night.

NPS Photo / Anela Kopshever

Beach Fire Rules and Regulations

Beach Fire Permits

Fires on the beach are a memorable experience. Want to enjoy the crackle of wood burning and the dancing of firelight? Follow these simple steps:

  1. Every day you wish to have a beach fire within Point Reyes National Seashore, call the park's fire information line at 415-464-5100 x2 x1.
    • If the recording states that there are no additional fire restrictions, proceed to step 2.
    • If the recording states that wood fires are banned, then you may not have a beach fire.
  2. Download and print the FREE Beach Fire Permit. (615 KB PDF)
  3. Read the contents of this web page and the permit.
  4. Fill out all of the fillable fields on the permit.
  5. Keep the permit with you while the fire burns.
The words "spare the air" in a solid light blue circle.
Is there a Spare the Air Alert in effect?

Beach fire permits are required for any wood fire ignited within the National Seashore. The minimum age for any fire permittee is 18 years of age unless accompanied by an adult. Point Reyes National Seashore's Beach Fire Permit is not available or valid:

  • during very hot, dry weather conditions;
  • when there are strong winds over 48 km/h (30 mph);
  • during high, very high, or extreme fire danger conditions;
  • by order of the Superintendent;
  • on Spare the Air days; or
  • at beaches or sites outside of Point Reyes National Seashore.

For current fire danger information, please call 415-464-5100 x2 x1.

Wood fires & locations

Within Point Reyes National Seashore, wood fires are allowed only on beaches (below the high tide line, if possible, in order to Leave No Trace) and 9 meters (30 feet) or more from vegetation and other flammable material—nowhere else. For your own safety, locate the fire 9 meters (30 feet) or more from the base of bluffs and cliffs—rockfalls from the park's bluffs and cliffs are a daily occurrence and, every now and then, large sections of cliff face collapse. Beach fires are usually permitted on any beach at Point Reyes National Seashore that is not subject to resource or visitor protection closures.

Wood fire fuel

Reasonable amounts of natural driftwood may be gathered from ocean-facing beaches. The collection of driftwood for fires is prohibited along Tomales Bay. Driftwood should be natural, dry, and clean (i.e., no wood coated with creosote or other chemicals; no plywood or other materials with glue; no wood embedded with nails or other metal objects), and shouldn't be much larger or longer than your leg.

Cartoon of burning wood with the words "Buy It Where You Burn It" above and "don'" below

Don't Move Firewood: Buy it where you burn it

If you bring firewood from outside of the park, wait until you are in West Marin before purchasing the firewood to reduce the risk of spreading insect pests or diseases. Firewood can carry invasive insects and diseases that can kill native trees. New infestations of these insects and diseases can destroy our forests, lessen property values, and cost a great deal to monitor, manage and control.
Learn more about the "Buy it where you burn it" principle below.

Sudden Oak Death

In particular, do not bring oak, fir, redwood, madrone, tanoak, or other species that are susceptible to Phytophthora ramorum unless they are certified to be free of this fungus that causes Sudden Oak Death. You can find a list of plants that either are hosts for or are associated with Phytophthora ramorum at APHIS List of Regulated Hosts and Plants Proven or Associated with Phytophthora ramorum (173 KB PD) or in paragraph (d) or (e) of Code of Federal Regulations Title 7, Ch. 3, Part 301, Subpart X—Phytophthora Ramorum, Sec. 92-2. To limit the spread of Phytophthora ramorum, please do not transport wood from these species. Visit the California Oak Mortality Task Force's and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's websites for more information.

Long pieces of wood on a sandy beach which are burnt in the middle, overlaid by a red circle with a diagonal line.
Do not use pieces of wood more than three feet in length to build fires.

Fire size

The fire may not be more than 0.9 meters (36 inches) in diameter.

Water sources for dousing (putting out) the fire

Of course, there is a large amount of water out in the ocean or in the bay adjacent to any of the beaches at which fires are permitted. But, given that it may not be safe to retrieve water from the ocean due to large surf, be sure to obtain and bring along plenty of water (potentially several gallons worth) before you arrive at the beach. There are water faucets at the base of the outdoor showers at Drakes, Limantour, and North beaches; however, there have been occasions during which water was unavailable due to pipeline breaks, pump failures, etc.

Proper dousing

The fire must be attended at all times by a responsible person until the fire is completely out and coals are cold. Before leaving your beach fire, put it out completely with water. Douse the fire with water, stir the coals, douse with water again. Repeat until the coals do not emit any heat; the coals should be cold enough to handle with your bare hands. Do not cover the coals with sand as it will only insulate any residual heat and be an unseen danger to wildlife and barefoot visitors.

Extinguishing time

Fires must be extinguished by 10 pm.

Charcoal fires

Charcoal fires are allowed in the Bear Valley and Drakes Beach picnic areas in the grills provided. Visitors may also have charcoal fires in their own self-contained barbecue grills. Completely extinguish the briquettes and pack out the ash and charcoal. Visitors planning to cook food over barbecue briquettes should come prepared with an alternative means (e.g., self-contained gas stove) of cooking in the event of very high or extreme fire danger. Call 415-464-5100 x2 x1 or stop by the Bear Valley Visitor Center to learn what the day's fire danger level is.

10 Tips to Prevent Wildfires

Nationally, almost 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. These preventable wildfires threaten lives, property, and our precious natural resources. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a public land pro, you play a valuable role in preventing wildfires and protecting our natural resources. Please read and share these 10 Tips to Prevent Wildfires to help prevent wildfires and spread the word about #TeamPublicLands, the Department of the Interior's campaign to encourage responsible recreation.

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Cartoon of burning wood with the words "Buy It Where You Burn It" above and "don'" below.

Buy It Where You Burn It

Please be aware that our forests across the country are threatened by nonnative insects and diseases that can kill large numbers of trees. Sudden Oak Death, Goldspotted oak borer, pitch canker, Emerald ash borer, and Asian longhorned beetle can be transported long distances in firewood. Once transported into new areas, these insects and diseases can become established and kill local trees. You can help reduce the risk of spreading nonnative insects and diseases by:

  • Leaving firewood at home—do not transport it to campgrounds or parks.
  • Using firewood from local sources. Ask your firewood seller where he/she obtained the wood. If it isn't nearby, or its origin is unknown, consider obtaining your firewood from another local firewood seller.
  • Buying only what you'll need, and burning all firewood before leaving your campsite if you will be leaving the local area.

Frequently Asked Questions



Additional FAQs can be found on's Frequently Asked Questions page and the California Firewood Task Force's Frequently Asked Questions: Moving Firewood Can Spread Invasive Species page.

More Information

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Last updated: May 10, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (e.g., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; fire danger information; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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