Campfire and Cooking Procedures

Amherst College will permit outdoor camp fires, provided permission has been obtained in advance, through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. The request must be made in advance by e-mail, at least 2 days before the event, in order to provide additional departments and offices on campus with the necessary information regarding the outdoor fire.

Outdoor fires are for camp and cooking fires only. These protocols can not be used for a bonfire event, which requires a fire truck with firefighters and a permit from the Amherst Fire Department, which is limited to only once per year, Homecoming.

Outdoor camp and cooking fires are for Outing Club functions, health and wellness activities, resident counselor events etc. Outdoor fires will not be permitted for events at which alcohol will be present for fire and safety reasons.  


In addition to obtaining the necessary approvals referenced above, camp and cooking fires require the following;

  • The specific site for the fire has to be approved.
    • A metal fire pit will permit more location options on campus than would the conventional camp fire.
    • The use of charcoal, lighter fluid and propane gas is prohibited from camp fires
    • Propane can be used for cooking fires, provided the cylinder is approved by the cooking equipment manufacturer.
  • Outdoor camp and cooking fires can be canceled, even after approval, if weather conditions will increase risk of fire spread
    • Dry conditions for which the fire department would not permit these types of fire, and/or
    • Windy conditions (steady or gusting)
      • Amherst College Police Department, Environmental Health & Safety and/or Student Activities can rescind the approval if weather conditions are not appropriate.
  •  The fire must be attended at all times
    • The assigned person must have fire extinguisher training, provided by Amherst College Environmental Health & Safety.
      • Fire Extinguishers for outdoor fires shall not be removed from any building, contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety or the Amherst College Service Center at
  • Before starting any camp or cooking fire, a designated representative from the group or organization must notify the Amherst College Police Department at (413) 542-2291
  • The event coordinator will be responsible for the health, safety and well-being of the attendees for the duration of the outdoor fire.
  • The fire should be allowed to consume the wood used for the event, so limit the amount of wood used.
    • When the fire has burned itself out, the event coordinator or designated person (identified by the event coordinator) shall insure that the fire has been completely extinguished or covered with sand.
  • After the fire is completely extinguished, the event coordinator must notify the Amherst College Campus Police (413) 542-2291 that the fire is out.
    • The Amherst College Campus Police will evaluate the outdoor fire at their earliest convenience.
  • Do not empty the coals or embers into any waste container (bag, box, dumpster or trash can), as it will increase the risk of a dumpster or trash can fire.
    • Coals and embers can be placed in the metal containers, which are located near fireplaces.
    • Barbecues, hibachis or other fire holding containers must not be stored in or within 25’ of the building
  • Adherence to the above requirements is mandatory.
    • Non-compliance could result in;
      •  the group or College loosing our ability to have any outdoor type fires, if stipulated by the Amherst Fire Department.
      • A Fine (> $100.00) issued by the Office of Dorm Damage

If you have any comments, questions or concerns with regard to the above, or if you need to acquire a Pressurized Water (PW) Extinguisher, Contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at 

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