Forest Service offers tips for safe Labor Day weekend at Lake Tahoe

Special to the Tribune
Kiva Beach at Lake Tahoe will be open for day use starting Saturday, Sept. 19.
Provided/Ryan Hoffman

Heading to Lake Tahoe for Labor Day weekend to celebrate the unofficial end of summer? Please keep the following in mind for a safe and fun-filled holiday weekend.

Illegal campfires continue to be the leading cause of wildland fires in the Tahoe Basin. National Forest lands at Lake Tahoe are under year-round fire restrictions and campfires/charcoal are prohibited in most areas due to the fire risk they pose to our communities, wildlife and forests.

Read the Camping and Campfire Restrictions Forest Order at and remember campfires/charcoal are only allowed within metal fire rings in campgrounds listed in the forest order. Campfires/charcoal are not allowed in Desolation Wilderness or Meiss Country, on National Forest beaches, along the Tahoe Rim Trail or Genoa Peak Road or in any existing rock fire rings.

Portable pressurized gas stoves are allowed in all areas with a valid California Campfire Permit obtainable online at

Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices including sky lanterns, exploding targets and incendiary or tracer ammo are always prohibited on all public lands year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. 

Bear canisters are recommended in the backcountry and be sure to remove all food, garbage and scented items from your vehicle before heading out. In campgrounds, visitors are required to store food in bear resistant containers (storage lockers/bear boxes), dispose of trash in dumpsters and close and lock these containers or risk fines, jail time or both.

Expect crowded conditions on local roads, highways and parking lots. Because of the basin’s high elevation, expect intense sunlight during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. If planning to camp overnight, be sure to make reservations ahead of time at

Due to the influx of visitors, mobile device networks may be overwhelmed and mobile phones and other devices may not work in some areas. Develop an alternate plan to contact family and friends and have an emergency plan in place in case you cannot call for help.

Consider public transportation as holiday traffic and road construction make for extremely crowded roads and parking areas. Walk, carpool, or bicycle to avoid limited parking in crowded recreation areas. Where parking on the side of the road is allowed, be careful to not park on vegetation as this can cause damage to the environment and can spark a wildfire.

Please respect the rules on where dogs are allowed. Dogs are not allowed on National Forest designated swim beaches including Nevada, Pope, Baldwin, Meeks Bay, and William Kent. For information on where dogs are allowed, visit    

Last but not least, please remember to pack out all garbage and Leave No Trace on your public lands. Carry extra trash bags in case trash cans and dumpsters are full. Do not leave trash outside of the receptacle, take it with you! Learn more about Leave No Trace principles at

The Forest Service office in South Lake Tahoe is closed on Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of Labor Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

More information on staying safe when visiting your National Forest is available at

For the latest information and updates, follow us on Facebook at and Twitter at

Stay safe out there and have a wonderful Labor Day.

This article was provided by the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Learn more here.

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