Beach Bonfire Season

by Nov 13, 2023Online Exclusives, Southport Oak Island

The Town of Oak Island allows beach bonfires from November 16 to April 30, and here’s what you need to know.

The cool air of autumn is being felt in the Cape Fear region, and seasonal gatherings of family and friends are in store. One sure sign of cooler weather being back on Oak Island is the start of beach bonfire season.

As of Thursday, November 16, after the official end of sea turtle nesting season, beach bonfires will once again be permitted on the public beach areas. While enjoying bonfires on the beach is a time-honored tradition for many, there are some important tips everyone needs to know, whether it is their first-ever fire or just the first for the season.


A Beach Bonfire Permit is required from the Oak Island Fire Department before any bonfire can be conducted. Permits are free to submit online and simply provide the fire department with a record of when and where to expect open flames on the public beach areas.

Permit Approval: The permit process is automated, and no direct approval response from the fire department is provided. After submitting, you should receive an email copy of your Permit Application. Retain this copy, either in printed or digital form, as this may be requested by first responders if called to your areas. If you do not receive a copy, be sure to check your email “spam” or “junk” folder; you can also request help through the Fire Department Contact Form.

Oak Island NC Beach Bonfire

Beach Bonfire Permits

• Cannot be submitted more than 72 hours from the date on the bonfire, to allow for accurate windspeed forecast
• Must use the windspeed forecast provided on the Bonfire Permit Application (no third-party apps)
• Cannot cover multiple bonfires or multiple days (one permit per bonfire, per day)
• Must be submitted directly by the individual they will be used for; others cannot do this for you as part of a free or paid service
Important: If at any point windspeed forecasts change to exceed 15 MPH, all permits will be effectively canceled until windspeeds lower. (Note: If windspeeds return to safe limits before your original bonfire date expires, a new application will not be needed.)

Beach Bonfire Rules

When conducting a beach bonfire, safety is the top priority. This applies to those hosting the bonfire as well as neighboring properties.

Oak Island NC Bonfire Season

Beach bonfires:

• Cannot be placed in the Emergency Vehicle Paths or on any sand dunes / berms (stay in front of Water Safety Station signage)
• Must have a flame size about 4 feet in diameter or smaller
• Cannot burn yard debris, trash or any materials other than dried firewood
• Must cool and completely remove all burned materials from the beach (DO NOT bury materials in the sand)
If at any point, peak windspeeds exceed 15 mph all active bonfires must be extinguished immediately, until windspeeds lower.
Remembering to practice fire safety. Cleaning up after your bonfire is what allows the Town of Oak Island to continue hosting a Beach Bonfire Season. Please do your part to help ensure this community favorite activity remains available for generations to come.

Want to have a beach bonfire?
Beach Bonfire Permit applications will open on Tuesday, November 14, for bonfires starting on Thursday, November 16. Bonfires can be held through April 30. To apply for a permit, click here.