North Tahoe Fire and Meeks Bay Fire Protection Districts Prohibit ALL Open Burning and Recreational Fires

June 26th, 2019


Erin Holland

Public Information Officer

North Tahoe Fire


North Tahoe Fire and Meeks Bay Fire Protection Districts Prohibit ALL Open Burning and Recreational Fires

Tahoe City, Calif. June 26, 2019 – On June 17, 2019 CAL FIRE suspended residential burn permits in the Tahoe Basin. Today, June 26th marked the first day of the year categorized as “High Fire Danger” in the Basin, prompting North Tahoe Fire Protection District (NTFPD) and Meeks Bay Fire Protection District (MBFPD) to impose fire restrictions by suspending all recreational campfires and open burning. The suspension takes effect today and will remain in effect through the fire season.

All open burning bonfires/campfires, outdoor fireplaces (unless properly screened), and recreation fires as defined in CFC 202 are prohibited. Exemptions: properly screened portable outdoor fireplaces, LPG or LNG portable outdoor fireplaces, and covered barbeques with a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height, that are at least 15 feet from a structure or combustible material for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes (CFC 307.4.3) are allowed. Burning of any solid fuels, including charcoal, is prohibited during Red Flag Weather Declarations (Local Ordinance 307.1.2).

“Sadly, illegal campfires continue to be the leading cause of wildfires in the Tahoe Basin, so it is important to obey all fire restrictions.” said NTFPD Fire Chief Michael Schwartz. “It’s also important for residents and visitors to know that open-flame devices such as tiki torches, as well as all fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers, are illegal in the Tahoe Basin year-round because of the wildfire danger they pose.”

Charcoal BBQs, properly screened outdoor fireplaces, and LPG or LNG portable outdoor fireplaces are considered a campfire by Public Resource Code 4103.5, and are only allowed on private property with written permission of the property owner in the possession of the person operating the fire. Grills and fireplaces must be properly screened or covered per our fire restrictions, and all campfire provisions apply including at least 15 feet of clearance from anything combustible around the grill, with a shovel and water supply nearby. Use the “drown, stir and feel” method: drown the coals with water, then stir around with your shovel to wet all sides. Feel with the back of your hand for heat, make sure nothing is still warm. If it is too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. Campfire permits are available online.

NTFPD and MBFPD are asking residents to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of Defensible Space around every structure. “It’s important for residents to effectively maintain defensible space on their property to improve their home’s survivability from both surface fires and ember showers.” Said NTFPD Fire Marshal Todd Conradson.

Here are some tips to help prepare homes and property:
• Maintain at least 5 feet free of combustible material around each structure.
• For a distance of at least 30 feet from the home, there should be a Lean, Clean and Green Area.
• Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from all structures.
• Landscape with fire resistant/drought tolerant plants.
• Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling to a biomass energy facility.

For additional information on how to create Defensible Space, tips to prevent wildfires and ways to prepare for emergencies and evacuations, visit Tahoe.LivingWithFire.Info.