New rules governing bonfires on Ocean Beach have officially gone into effect, and, having abandoned a proposed $35 permit after the idea was roundly criticized, the changes should mostly be welcomed by fans of the age-old tradition.

The new rules began April 4, and according to the National Park Service are quite extensive. The rules dictate, among other things, that all fires must be out by 9:30 p.m., no alcohol of any kind is allowed on the beach, and that fires must be put out with "WATER ONLY" (so stop peeing on the flames). One exciting note is that the number of fire rings has increased from 12 to 16.

Here is the full list (emphasis added) for your reading pleasure:

  • Fires are allowed from March 1 - October 31 (No fires between November 1 - February 28)
  • Fires are only allowed WITHIN the provided concrete fire rings. Any fires created outside of these rings are illegal.
  • NO GLASS OR ALCOHOL is allowed on the beach.
  • Fires must be out by 9:30 PM.
  • The parking lots at Ocean Beach close at 10:00 PM each night and are owned and managed by the City of San Francisco.
  • Fires are not allowed on "Spare the Air" days. 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 or call 1-800-HELP-AIR.
  • Fires must be extinguished with WATER ONLY. Bring a bucket to collect ocean water, or bring your own water. Covering the fire with sand does not extinguish the fire. Instead it insulates the hot coals and fills the pits with sand.
  • Bring your own firewood. Gathering, cutting, or scavenging firewood or kindling is not permitted at the beach or in the park. Locally grown firewood is best.
  • Burn only untreated, unpainted wood.
  • Don't burn pallets or any wood containing nails or other hardware.
  • Burn Clean. Do not use 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.
  • Trash must be removed from the beach. LEAVE NO TRACE.
  • Fires shall be attended at all times by a responsible adult (18 year of age or older).
  • Minors must be supervised. A responsible leader, 18 years or older, must be present for every 10 children under the age of 18.
  • Groups of more than 25 people must obtain a permit by calling (415) 561-4700. For more information, go to:
  • 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.

Previously: Ocean Beach Fires To Remain Free: $35 Permit Proposal Rejected