FAQs

Can I get a bonfire permit for anywhere other than the beach, like my backyard?

Bonfires (and the open air burning of firewood) is limited only to the beach areas specified, and are not permitted on other public or private property within the Town limits.  Gas firepits are permitted in some cases for private property where they can be safely located and maintained.  Permits for the installation of outdoor gas appliances (including gas firepits) can be found here: https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/fire/fire-marshal-office/permit-applications/


I’m getting married on the beach, have my Town Special Event/Wedding approval, and want to have tiki-torches at my event. Do I need a separate bonfire permit?

Yes, a special no-charge bonfire permit is required (contact the office at 410-289-8780 for more information).  The bonfire permit ensures our partners in emergency services, US Coast Guard, and MD Natural Resources (Marine) Police have been notified that there will be a permitted fire on the beach, so they do not respond to possible citizen reports concerning seeing a fire.  This helps to ensure that your special day isn’t interrupted by responding fire apparatus! 


I want to have tiki torches along with my permitted bonfire. Is this allowed?

Yes, as long as the tiki torches are in close proximity to the bonfire (covered by the noted permit location). 


Does the permit allow me to have bonfires throughout the season?

The bonfire permit only covers the singular date and location specified.  Additional locations or dates will require additional, separate permits.


Can I bring a metal firepit to use on the beach?

Yes, a metal firepit or fire ring can be used on the beach, and often helps to contain fire debris, making cleanup easier.


Can I take a grill along and cook food in addition to my bonfire?

No.  The bonfire permit only allows for the kindling of a bonfire at the location specified.  While permittees may cook over the bonfire using a grate or long-handled forks, no additional grills (propane, electric, or charcoal) are permitted.


What’s the best way to clean up after the fire?

As you reach the end of your allotted time for your bonfire, the fire should be extinguished using water and allowed to properly cool for a time in the pit.  After cooling, all remnants should be shoveled into a non-combustible (metal) container and removed from the beach for disposal.  The pit area should then be leveled, to ensure the beach is returned to its pre-fire condition.  Under no circumstances should firewood remnants be buried on the beach or thrown into the ocean.


Can I drive my vehicle on the beach to drop off my wood and other supplies?

No; the bonfire permit covers the proper kindling of a bonfire in the location specified, and does not entitle the holder to violate any of the normal beach regulations, including driving, alcohol consumption, or time restrictions. 


Where can I get “untreated wood” to start my bonfire?

A number of hardware stores in Ocean City carry the necessary supplies for a safe and compliant bonfire, including metal containers, shovels, and untreated firewood.  Additionally, there are a number of firewood vendors in Worcester County, many located in nearby West Ocean City between the town and Assateague Island.  Visitors may also elect to bring untreated firewood from home.