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Campfire Permits


This webpage contains information, links and FAQ’s about how to obtain a temporary or annual campfire permit for a private residence, non-profit or commercial campground or outdoor facility.

FAQ about Campfire Permits

Permits are needed to for the use of a recreational campfire or for the use of ceremonial fire on private land in the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District. This applies to both private residential settings and commerical and non-profit facilities.

What is the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District?

    The Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District was formed by state law in 1941. It was created in part to protect the timber on areas subject to unusual fire dangers. A permit is needed for the use of campfires, burn barrels, and ceremonial fires in the District. This came into law after the 1959 Deadwood Fire which about burned down the city of Deadwood, and was started by the use of a burn barrel when the fire danger was very high for the day.

What area of South Dakota does the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District cover?

    The area covered is identified in South Dakota Codified Law SDCL 34-35-15. Generally, this covers the portion of the Black Hills that is south and west of Interstate 90 from the Wyoming state line to exit 61 in Rapid City, west of US Hwy 16B to State Hwy 79 south of Rapid City. then Highway 79 is the east boundary of the district as it heads south to Cheyenne River Bridge south of Maverick Junction in Fall River County, then the Cheyenne River forms the south boundary of the district to the Wyoming/South Dakota state line. The legal description and a map may be found at this link.

Are incorporated towns and cities part of the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District?

    No. Incorporated towns and municipalities within this area are not part of the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District. These towns would include: Hot Springs, Pringle, Custer, Hermosa, Hill City, Keystone, Summerset,Piedmont, Sturgis, Whitewood, Spearfish, Deadwood, Central City and Lead. If you want to have a campfire in those towns or cities, you would need to contact the local city officials. Keep in mind most municipalities ban the use of campfires and burn barrels inside city limits.

Can I use my campfire permit US Forest Service Land on the Black Hills National Forest?

    No. A temporary campfire permit or burn permit is only valid for use on private land within the district, with permission of the landowner. Campfires on Black Hills National Forest Service lands in South Dakota are only allowed in established campfire grates at designated picnic or campgrounds. Recreational campfires outside of those areas on the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota need to be permitted by the District Ranger or authorized representative.

Can I go on-line to get a permit for a burn barrel or permanent fixed campfire place?

    No. These permits require a field inspection and must be sited and constructed to certain standards. Please contact the Division of Wildland Fire Field Office staff to obtain those permits.

    - Lawrence County: Lead Field Office - 605-584-2300
    - Meade & Pennington County: Rapid City Field Office - 605-394-2582
    - Custer & Fall River County: Hot Springs Field Office - 605-745-5820

What are the requirements for an outdoor fire place?


What are the requirements for a burn barrel?

Are you located in the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District?

Detailed map of Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District





Please contact one of our field offices if you have any questions about the location of your proposed camp fire in the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District.

Contact information is may be found under the Frequently Asked Questions tab.

How to get your campfire installation approved for a permit

A circle of loosely placed rocks is not a permitted campfire site! Check out the campfire specs to secure your permit.

How to get your burn barrel approved for a permit

Burn barrels are permitted only for the use of burning paper or untreated wood products. Check out the specifications and contact info.

Is my permit good for having a campfire on the Black Hills National Forest?

No. You can only have open fire in designated camp fire grates at U. S. Forest Service Campgrounds, picnic sites, or developed recreational areas. You will need to contact the local USFS District Ranger’s Office for permission to use open fire anywhere else within the Black Hills National Forest system lands in South Dakota.

Do I need a permit for Barbeque Charcoal Grills, Chimenas, or Gas Grills?

No. You do not need a permit for these cooking implements if they are used on a deck or concrete pad or driveway attached to a dwelling. However, if they are used out in a forested area away from a dwelling, you will need to obtain a permit.

Do I need a permit for a Branding Fire?

Propane fired heaters used to heat irons do not need a permit if they are used in a corral, pasture or livestock facility setting.

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