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Holiday Weekend Camping Caution

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Stanislaus National Forest, CA – Keeping the 4th of July festivities going throughout the weekend could include camping for many on the Stanislaus National Forest, but a reminder —  there are rules regarding campfires.

If planning on lighting a campfire for evening warmth or to make delicious treats, such as s’mores, forest officials caution that there is great responsibility when striking that match. One key requirement is to check whether a campfire permit is needed. When there are no fire restrictions in place, permits are required for campfires, charcoal fires, or portable gas stoves outside of a designated recreation area. Free permits are available at all Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or CAL-Fire offices or online by clicking here.

Forest officials relay a holder of a campfire permit must agree to carry out these provided rules:

  • Come prepared – bring your campfire permit, your shovel, and a bucket for water.  Check with forest staff to see if there are fire restrictions in place.
  • Clear all flammable material away from the fire at least five feet in all directions to prevent the fire from escaping.
  • Find a level spot away from overhanging branches, brush or dry grass. Keep away from the base of a hill, because escaped campfires can travel uphill very quickly.
  • Beware of duff, or the layer of decomposing material lying on the forest floor between pine needles and bare dirt. Duff burns, while bare dirt does not.
  • Never leave a fire unattended, even for a few minutes! It only takes a moment for a fire to escape. Be sure a responsible person is present when a campfire is burning. Leave the permit with that person and make sure they are aware of the terms of the permit.
  • Extinguish the fire with water and a shovel, using the “drown, stir and feel until it’s dead out” method.
  • Using the back of your hand, check the ashes to see if heat is still present. Additional water and stirring may be needed to confirm that the fire is out before you leave the campsite. Walk and check the area 50 feet around fire pit to make sure embers or sparks did not escape.
  • Charcoal briquettes should be extinguished by placing them in a bucket of water, stirring them thoroughly, then pour them into the fire pit.
  •  You can and likely will be held liable for the cost of suppressing any wildfire that starts due to negligence from your campfire.

Any related questions regarding recreation opportunities and conditions on the forest call:

Stanislaus NF Supervisor’s Office:  209-532-3671

Calaveras Ranger District:  209-795-1381

Groveland Ranger District 209-962-7825

Summit Ranger District at 209-965-3434