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Campfires in Lake Tahoe: Rules for the 2020 Camping Season

The U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, has placed campfire restrictions in the Lake Tahoe basin for the 2020 camping season.

Campfire restrictions in Lake Tahoe were already fairly tight due to:

  • Availability of fuel for rapidly expanding, hot forest fires.
  • Prevalent hot, dry, windy conditions during summer months.
  • Inaccessibility of forest areas to firefighting crews.
  • Bottlenecks preventing mass evacuation from the Basin during a fire.
campfire

Where campfires are prohibited in Lake Tahoe in 2020

Effective May 30th, 2020 to November 30th, 2020, campfires are prohibited everywhere in National Forest land except in metal fire rings at designated campgrounds.

This means that if you find a stone fire ring on a granite slab in the Desolation Wilderness, a campfire is still prohibited in that fire ring. This rule has actually been in effect since before this year.

Unless you’re at one of the campgrounds listed in the next section, you may not have a campfire in any National Forest lands in the Lake Tahoe basin, such as Wilderness areas or dispersed camping along the Tahoe Rim Trail. Prohibited campgrounds include:

You may use gas canisters for stoves or lighting, as long as you keep your stove at least three feet away from flammable materials.

Rangers are enforcing fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

Where campfires are allowed in Lake Tahoe in 2020

lake tahoe forest service campfire restrictions
Campfires in Lake Tahoe National Forest lands are only allowed in the labeled green areas

Campfires are allowed in designated metal fire rings at the following National Forest campgrounds only:

Granite Flat, Goose Meadow, and Silver Creek are not part of the LTBMU and this order does not apply to those campgrounds.

State Parks campgrounds and campgrounds on private land will have separate rules.

You can read the entire Forest Service order here.

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