Superlist no. 798

Burning, man
Bay Area beaches that allow fires. By Yenie Ra

WE SAN FRANCISCANS are no strangers to bonfires. Burning Man lit up Baker Beach – that is, until the National Park Service banished it from San Francisco in 1990, citing fire-safety concerns. Luckily, the NPS realized it couldn't keep us from playing with matches altogether, and it still allows fires on two – count 'em, two – beaches, under regulations that have become much stricter in recent years. Don't forget the marshmallows!

Ocean Beach

Fires are welcome on Ocean Beach between Fulton Street and Lincoln Way west of Golden Gate Park. The pit cannot be larger than three feet in diameter, and it must be built above the ground. Burners can ignite only wood, and they must remember to completely extinguish fires with water.

No alcohol or glass bottles are allowed on Ocean Beach, the walkway, and the seawall – making it easier to keep the noise level below the ocean's roar. Also, the parking lot between Lincoln and Fulton closes at 10 p.m., often the cause of an early end to an evening.

If you're planning a big blowout of 25 or more people, a permit is required. Applications and more information are available at

Muir Beach

If you want a beach bonfire away from the city, you can give Muir Beach in Mill Valley a try, but strict rules apply. Fires are only allowed in the three fire rings and grills near the south end of the parking lot, and only during the day.

For more details call (415) 388-2595 or go to