Fire season declared: North Tahoe Fire, Meeks Bay Fire Protection districts prohibit all open burning, recreational fires


North Tahoe Firefighters train in preparation for the 2022 fire season.
Photo courtesy Julien Lecorps

On May 19, Cal Fire NEU suspended burn permits for the season, and on Monday, May 24, Cal Fire AEU followed suit, resulting in full suspension of residential burn permits in the Tahoe Basin.

These are the triggers that prompt North Tahoe Fire Protection District, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, and Alpine Springs County Water District to activate local fire restrictions that suspend the outdoor burning of solid fuels, including wood and charcoal. The suspension takes effect Wednesday, June 1, and remains in effect for the duration of fire season.

Following the adoption of the 2019 Fire Code, only Natural Gas (NG) or Propane (LPG) outdoor firepits and barbecues, and pellet grills/smokers are allowed year-round except during Red Flag/critical fire weather conditions. All of these appliances must be utilized following manufacturer’s recommendations.

Open-flame devices such as tiki torches and all fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers, are illegal in California year-round. For reports of hazardous/illegal camp fires, people should call 9-1-1, and illegal firework activity should be reported to local law enforcement.

Graphic provided by North Tahoe Fire Protection District

“Following the driest January through March on record, we are left facing dry fuels early in the season with above-normal fire activity expected in the region,” said NTFPD Fire Chief Steve Leighton in a news release. “We ask our residents and visitors to follow our seasonal ban on the outdoor burning of wood and charcoal, in addition to doing the work that makes homes resistant to embers to help us protect this beautiful place. Our firefighters have been working hard this spring to train and prepare for fire season, but as we witnessed last year in Christmas Valley, it takes all of us working together throughout the season to make Tahoe Wildfire Ready.”

During Red flag/critical fire weather conditions, all sources of open flames, including Natural Gas (NG) or Propane (LPG) outdoor firepits and barbecues, and pellet grills/smokers are prohibited.

Red Flag Watches and Warnings of critical fire weather in the Tahoe Basin are issued by the National Weather Service, Reno.

“The National Weather Service will issue a Fire Weather Watch roughly 3-5 days in advance of critical fire weather conditions, including strong winds and low humidity,” said Chris Smallcomb, NWS warning coordination meteorologist/PIO. “Once confidence levels are high enough, this is upgraded to a Red Flag Warning, usually one to three days in advance. Our fire service partners use the alerts to help guide staffing and resource decisions not just locally but over regional and multi-state areas.”

NTFPD asks residents to prepare for wildfire by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of Defensible Space around every structure.

“Residents can increase the survivability of homes and neighborhoods from wildfire by managing vegetation and retrofitting structures to be more resistant to both surface fires and ember showers,” said NTFPD Fire Marshal Brent Armstrong. “We encourage residents to sign up for our no-cost defensible space inspections, and no-cost residential curbside chipping.”

For additional information on how to create defensible space, tips to prevent wildfires and ways to prepare for emergencies and evacuations, visit

Source: North Tahoe Fire Protection District

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