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New Rules For Fires on Ocean Beach At Golden Gate National Recreation Area


Efforts to improve the beach fire scene on Ocean Beach at Golden Gate National Recreation Area has led to the installation of "artistic" fire rings. NPS photo.

Beach fires long have flickered at night on Ocean Beach in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. But now park officials are trying to rein-in some of the rowdy behavior that has flared up around some of these night-time activities.

In recent years, NRA officials have worked with community groups who want to maintain San Francisco’s beach fire tradition. The goal of the National Park Service has been to develop policies that will allow the tradition to continue while protecting the resources and ensuring a clean and safe beach experience, a release from the NRA said. This partnership has resulted in reduced smoke impacts to neighbors, attractive and artistic fire pits where visitors can build fires, and enhanced beach cleanup activity, the statement adds.

That said, "(W)hile the partnership has succeeded in some respects, there are still significant law enforcement issues connected with late-night beach fire activity, including assaults, vandalism, litter and public drunkenness," NRA officials note. "To mitigate these problems, the park will continue to allow fires at Ocean Beach under modified regulations. Beginning August 1, an 11:00 p.m. curfew for fires on Ocean Beach will be instituted."

Park staff and signs will educate beach users about the curfew. Signs listing beach fire regulations have been posted from Stairwell 15 to Stairwell 28, in the area where beach fires are allowed, according to the NRA. Additional NO FIRES signs will be installed at locations where fires are not allowed.

This is not a closure, as Ocean Beach remains open to the public 24 hours a day.

Additionally, NRA officials say, "there are a limited number of fire rings on Ocean Beach. Fires are ONLY allowed inside these approved fire rings, and are on a first-come, first-served basis. A permit is required for groups larger than 25. Permit applications are available online at


Fires used to be allowed up and down the beach, and for as long as people wanted to be there. That worked for over a hundred years, but then the Park Service took over.

I look forward to the day when the Park Service in their role as nanny, only allows one fire on the beach between the hour of 5 and 6 pm during the month of September. Fun!

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