South Walton can be the perfect place to host a beach bonfire. We have beautiful beaches and excellent weather year-round, and with days growing shorter, the party can start that much earlier. However, before you decide to rent a beach bonfire — either for the sake of a beach party or a cozy date night with your special someone — you want to first make sure you know these rules. Regulations are put in place for bonfires to ensure that the beach is a safe, enjoyable place to be for everyone.
Acquiring a Bonfire Permit
In order to have a beach bonfire, you must first have a permit. There are two different kinds of permits are granted by the South Walton Fire District: Annual Beach Bonfire Permits and Temporary Beach Bonfire Permits. Annual Beach Bonfire Permits are specifically for Gulf Front property owners, and the application must be submitted by December 31st. The good news is once you’ve submitted and been approved for your annual permit, you don’t have to reapply for each bonfire.
Temporary Beach Bonfire Permits are more suited towards tourists. These permits are good for one night and cost $50. Applicants for temporary permits must have their own fire container and burning material. Often when renting beach bonfires, the rental company will take care of the permit for you, as well as set-up and takedown of the beach bonfire.
Beach Bonfire Rules
If you’re granted a beach bonfire permit (if not, of course, don’t host a beach bonfire party), make sure the permit is on you at all times during a beach bonfire. This goes for both annual permits and temporary permits. Next, you want to make sure that the area surrounding your beach bonfire is clean before you start the fire.
Cleanliness is one of the biggest factors when it comes to beach bonfire regulations. When you start a beach bonfire, you’re legally responsible to clean up after yourself at the end of the night, and failure to do so can result in fines. Not only should you extinguish the fire and remove the container, but you should clear away any trash from the beach as well.
It’s also important to keep in mind that, unless it’s designated camping space, camping on the beach is strictly prohibited. Also, keep in mind that any combustibles that go into the beach bonfire should be free of glass or nails or anything else that could be potentially hazardous.
Renting a Beach Bonfire
Because of the process of the permit application and all the regulations, some people prefer to rent beach bonfires from a rental company. The cost of these beach bonfires often includes the cost of a temporary permit. Rental companies can set up the bonfire and take it down at the end of the night. You will still have to clean up any trash, but it takes much of the pressure off compared to bringing your own beach bonfire.
The next time you have a chance to enjoy a beach bonfire in South Walton, take it. Just make sure you enjoy your beach bonfire safely and responsibly.