Beach Fire Rules and Regulations
If you intend to build a wood fire within the park during your stay, you must read and understand the following.
Permits: Permits are required for any wood fire ignited within the National Seashore. Permits are available at visitor centers, the dispatch office, and from field rangers. Permits may only be obtained on the day you plan on having a fire. The permit is free. Permits are not available or valid during high, very high, or extreme fire danger conditions, or on Winter Spare the Air days. For current fire information, please call 415-464-5100 x2 x1.
Wood fires & locations: Wood fires are allowed only on beaches (below the high tide line, if possible), 9 meters (30 feet) or more from vegetation and other flammable material-nowhere else.
Wood fire fuel: Reasonable amounts of driftwood may be gathered from ocean-facing beaches. The collection of driftwood for fires is prohibited on Tomales Bay. Driftwood should be 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.
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. 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. Download the most up-to-date list of plant species that are susceptible to Sudden Oak Death infestation (173 KB PD). 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.
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: 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 11 pm.
Charcoal fires: Charcoal fires are allowed in the Bear Valley and Drakes Beach picnic areas and the backcountry campgrounds 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 a beach fire or barbecue should come prepared with an alternative means (i.e., self-contained gas stove) of cooking in the event of high, very high, or extreme fire danger.