California suffered several huge fires in recent years. I wonder what kind of restrictions were enacted, if any, regarding fires on campsites? Which of them are legal/safe:

Starting an old-fashion fire on the ground, just a few dry branches arranged together?

Ditto in a shallow pit?

A portable stove?

A grill?

We are going for a few days to a large forest park in CA with road access up to about 100 yards off the campsite.

EDIT: per your advice, I checked with the park website, and indeed they have the answer:

"Fires are permitted in designated fire rings only. Do not gather wood. Extinguish fires when unattended. When posted "NO FIRES", only camp stoves or gas grills are permitted."

So it's not just fixed rules but also depends on whether they'll post "NO FIRES" signs.

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    What park? Have you looked up the park's official website (IE, on the US Forest Service, US National Parks, or California State Parks website)? Government agencies that manage parks usually provide information about what types of activities are allowed or prohibited within the park.
    – csk
    May 1, 2021 at 2:02
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    There is more danger in a fire that you have supposedly put out and left, than in one you are attending (because there is nothing you can do about it). I once lit a very small fire on a beach, just enough to cook two sausages, put the fire out and covered it with sand. But someone had seen me because on leaving a warden approached me and said someone else had done just that, and after they left the evening wind got up, blew away the sand, rekindled the embers and carried them into the dry pine woods nearby, where they caused a bad fire. May 1, 2021 at 10:54
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    There are several categories of federal , state , county , city and private parks ; And likely some I forgot. May 1, 2021 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


This depends completely on the specific park. You could try the web site for the city's parks and recreation department, for example.


You have to check about where you are going. The legality of fire depends on the type of fire, the park, the season and the weather. I'm having some trouble confirming exactly what the rules are about fire permits--it appears that you need them on all federal land in California. The permit is free. (It's about passing a quiz, not about money. They want to make sure you know the rules.)

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