• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking across the bay back towards San Francisco, seen in the distance.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

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    Every year people drown in the surf off Northern California beaches - don't let it be you! Be extra alert on park beaches during the winter storm season. Do not turn your back on the shoreline and watch for extra powerful “sneaker” waves.

Beach Fire and Campfire Regulations

The Basics

Beach fires are only permitted in the park-provided fire rings at Muir Beach and Ocean Beach.

Read the beach fire regulations

Campfires are permitted only at the Kirby Cove Campground & Picnic Area in the fire grills provided by the park. Either wood or charcoal may be burned in these grills.

Read the Campfire regulations

Only liquid fuel stoves are permitted in Haypress Campground, Hawk Campground and Bicentennial Campground.

Charcoal fires are permitted in fixed grills provided by the park or visitor-provided portable barbecues in established picnic areas, in the Kirby Cove Campground, or at Muir and Ocean beaches unless signed or prohibited otherwise.

Read the Charcoal fire regulations

During very hot, dry weather conditions, "Spare the Air" days, strong winds, and extreme fire danger days or by order of the Superintendent, fires of any type may not be allowed anywhere in the park. All beach fire permits will become null and void. Visitors may call the park communication center to check on current conditions.

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Campfires regulations

  • Campfires are permitted only at the Kirby Cove Campground & Picnic Area in the fire grills provided by the park. Either wood or charcoal may be burned in these grills.
  • All firewood must be brought into the park.
  • No gathering, cutting or scavenging of firewood or kindling is permitted in the park from any source.
  • Chemically treated wood, painted wood, wood with nails or staples shall not be used in any fire.
  • Before departure, campfires must be completely extinguished with water, using the "drown, stir and feel" method.
  • During very hot, dry weather conditions, “Spare the Air” days, strong winds, and extreme fire danger days or by order of the Superintendent, fires of any type may not be allowed anywhere in the park.
 

Charcoal fire regulations

Charcoal fires are permitted in fixed grills provided by the park or visitor-provided portable barbecues in established picnic areas, in the Kirby Cove Campground, or at Muir and Ocean beaches unless signed or prohibited otherwise. Debris burning is not permitted. Grill/Stove fire coals must be extinguished and disposed of in receptacles provided by the park.

Park-provided charcoal grills may be found at the following picnic areas:

  • Baker Beach
  • Battery Wallace
  • China Beach
  • Kirby Cove
  • Rodeo Beach
  • Muir Beach

Only liquid fuel stoves are permitted in Haypress Campground, Hawk Campground and Bicentennial Campground. Campers staying at Bicentennial Campground may use charcoal in the barbecue grills in the nearby Battery Wallace picnic area.

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Beach fire regulations

Beach fires are only permitted in:

  • Fire rings provided at Muir Beach. Only three fire rings are available on the beach near the south end of the parking lot. Fires must be cleared and groups must vacate the beach by the end of the day-use hours (changes seasonally). Please call (415) 388-2595 for hours.

  • Fire rings provided at Ocean Beach between Stairwells 15 and 20. See below for more details.

Fires on Ocean Beach
On Monday, April 21, 2014 NPS announced a proposal to revise the existing fire program on Ocean Beach. Revisions are being proposed because the NPS is finding it difficult to sustain the staff effort for maintaining a clean and safe beach as a result of the visitors who are non-compliant with the program rules and regulations.

The problems NPS is experiencing include:

  • Inappropriate and toxic materials being burned
  • Trash being left on the beach
  • Users consuming alcohol and illegal substances
  • Glass on the beach Dangerous materials such as metal and glass fragments, and nails left scattered in the sand surrounding the fire rings
  • Fires not being extinguished properly, leaving hot coals on the beach the morning after
  • Disorderly conduct, underage intoxication, and other law enforcement incidents
  • Fires being burned outside of designated fire pits and stairwells

To read the details of the changes NPS is proposing and to provide your feedback, please visit: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/oceanbeachfires

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You can help keep Ocean Beach fires alive by following these simple rules:

  • No fires outside rings.
  • No glass in the fires.
  • No alcohol on the beach.
  • No fires after 10 PM.
  • Burn only untreated, unpainted wood, to keep pollutants and poisons out of the air and sand.
  • Don't burn pallets or any wood containing nails or other hardware.
  • Bring your own firewood-don't use driftwood or other natural debris, as they serve as wildlife habitat. Gathering, cutting or scavenging of firewood or kindling is not permitted at the beach or in the park. Locally grown firewood is best.
  • Burn Clean. Avoid using accelerants such as lighter fluid, as they leave pollution and poisons in the sand and the air. Paper and kindling are preferred fire starter material.
  • Don't burn trash or debris. Most trash gives off pollution and poisonous gases. Refuse must be removed from the beach.
  • Ceramic pit fires are prohibited.
  • Bring a bucket to put out fire. Fires shall be completely extinguished with water, using the "drown, stir and feel" method.
  • Do NOT bury hot coals with sand; buried coals are a safety hazard to visitors and wildlife.
  • Fires shall be attended at all times by a responsible adult (18 year of age or older). Minors must be supervised by one person 21 or over for each 10 people under 18.
  • Groups of more than 25 people must obtain a permit by calling 415-561-4300. the administrative cost for the permit is $50.00. Large-scale events may require more extensive review by National Park Service staff. If it is determined that your event will require extensive review, the administrative cost may be higher.
  • Observe all posted regulations.
  • Please observe "Spare the Air days." Do not burn beach fires when air pollution is severe. When air pollution reaches unhealthy levels, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District notifies the public by declaring a "Spare the Air day." To find out if today is a "Spare the Air day," visit www.sparetheair.org or call 1-800-HELP-AIR.

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Other regulations pertaining to Ocean Beach
These pertain to some of the issues park rangers encounter at Ocean Beach. This is not a comprehensive list of all park regulations.

  • ALCOHOL IS NOT ALLOWED ON OCEAN BEACH. This includes the walkway and the seawall from the intersection of Lincoln Way north to the Cliff House.
  • No amplified sound is permitted.
  • Affixing signs to existing buildings, property, signs, poles, and plants is prohibited.
  • Off-road vehicle travel is prohibited.
  • Collections of fees, donations or concession sales are prohibited.
  • Marking park property or grounds with flour, chalks, inks, or paints is prohibited.
  • No overnight camping or erection of tents, canopies or other similar structures.
  • Parking lot between Lincoln & Fulton is property of the City & County of San Francisco. Cars may not park in this lot after 10:00 p.m.
 

Fines

  • Violation of area designation $100 (fires outside permitted zone). CFR 2.6(2)(c)
  • Disposing of refuse in place other than refuse receptacle $100. CFR 2.14(a)(1)
  • Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition $250. CFR 2.34(a)
  • Failure to extinguish fire $100. CFR 2.13(b)
  • Creating noise between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. $100. CFR 2.10(b)
  • Camping in prohibited area $50. CFR 2.10(b)(10)

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Universal Access

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is committed to universal access for all visitors. The new fire rings at Ocean Beach have the following accessibility provisions:

  • Future accessible parking spaces, beach route and fire rings located at Stairwells #15 & #16.
  • Visitors may reserve an all-terrain wheelchair as an assisted device by calling (415) 561-4958, TTY (415) 561-4724, or by contacting Richard Deleo by email. Allow 5 days’ notice for reservation.

If you have questions or comments about beach fires and other issues affecting Ocean Beach, please e-mail the park or call (415) 561-4741.

 

Did You Know?

International peace symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

The international peace symbol was designed in 1958 as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and has deliberately never been copyrighted.