Policies and Regulations
Policies and Regulations
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REG 04.25.03 - Bonfire Safety Regulation

Authority: Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs 


  • First Issued: October 13, 2014 

Related Policies:

Additional References:

Contact Information: Environmental Health and Safety Officer, 910.521.6792


1.1 Section 307 of the North Carolina Fire Code regulates Open Burning, Recreational Fires and Portable Outdoor Fireplaces. As such, a person shall not kindle or maintain or authorize to be kindled or maintained any open burning on the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) campus unless conducted and approved in accordance with this section.

1.2 This regulation imposes limits on the conducting and/or facilitating of a bonfire on the campus of UNCP. The objective of this Bonfire Safety Regulation is to ensure that all UNCP students, faculty, employees and visitors are properly protected and a safe environment is established and maintained during all UNCP sponsored bonfires.


2.1 This regulation applies to all students, student organizations, faculty and staff at UNCP. Events must comply with the Event Coverage for Clubs and Organizations Regulation and all other University policies and regulations. 

2.2 Only approved University affiliated groups or student organizations may host a bonfire on the campus of UNCP. 

2.3 “Fronting”by University Groups. UNCP faculty, staff, students, and student organizations may not reserve any space or facility on behalf of or for the use of an external group for the purpose of conducting a bonfire or other event.


3.1 UNCP will maintain jurisdiction over all bonfires on the University campus.

3.2 Robeson County Fire Marshal will maintain jurisdiction over all bonfire permits and compliance with this regulation.

3.3 Pembroke Rural Fire Department will provide fire protection during the bonfire.

3.4 The event sponsor (person responsible for requesting and hosting the bonfire) is responsible for properly scheduling and operating the bonfire.

3.5 The UNCP Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) will provide all necessary fire extinguisher/fire safety training.


4.1 Prior to conducting a bonfire, the event sponsor shall have the following responsibilities.

4.1.1 Notify EH&S thirty (30) days in advance of the date of the bonfire, to include the date, and time the bonfire is expected to take place.  The EH&S office will discuss locations that are available to host a bonfire at the time of delivery of the request.

4.1.2 Ensure the appropriate number of assistants is present at the bonfire, and that they have been trained to use fire extinguishers and are instructed on the requirements of the bonfire safety program. There shall be no less than two assistants per event and the sponsor or designated representative shall remain at the bonfire site for the duration of the bonfire.

4.1.3 Ensure that all assistants are properly trained in their respective duties and responsibilities. Open burning shall be constantly attended by the assistants until the fire is extinguished. At the conclusion of the bonfire they will assure that the fire is out and the embers are cold. A minimum of three (3) 2 ½ gallon water fire extinguishers (rated 2A) are required at the bonfire site, to be posted around the perimeter of the fire. Fire extinguisher training can be provided by EH&S with a minimum of five (5) business days’ notice for scheduling.

4.1.4 Two assistants are required to monitor the bonfire. They will be responsible for making certain that the rules and policies related to distance, type of fuel, and safety guidelines are adhered to at all times.

4.1.5 Ensure the completion and approval of the application for an open burning permit (Fire Prevention Form I) through the Robeson County Fire Marshal’s Office.

4.1.6 Communicate with the Pembroke Rural Fire Department and ensure a fire truck with firefighters will be available during the bonfire.

4.1.7 Provide a person to act as the designated contact to the EH&S Officer; the EH&S Officer will be the supervisor to the assistants and will also be responsible for reviewing the rules and regulations with the assistants prior to the bonfire being ignited.

4.2 The following are the responsibility of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

4.2.1 Obtain all information regarding a request to conduct a bonfire and serve as the liaison for obtaining the required permit from the Fire Marshal’s Office.

4.2.2 Ensure that all concerned parties are aware of the request. This will include, but is not limited to, UNCP Police and Public Safety, EH&S, and the Pembroke Rural Fire Department.

4.2.3 Provide the training necessary to the event sponsor and the designated assistants to allow them to properly and safely perform their duties and responsibilities.

4.2.4 Inspect the bonfire area with the sponsor or sponsor’s representative prior to the event and remove any unauthorized combustible/flammable fuels found in the area. Ensure that the bonfire area is properly marked and that fire extinguishers are provided inside the fire perimeter.

4.2.5 In all cases the University EH&S Officer must attend the bonfire. If this is done during normal business hours, there is no charge to the sponsoring organization for the officer. Outside of normal business hours (after hours, weekends, and holidays) the sponsoring organization must pay the overtime costs.

4.3 UNCP Police and Public Safety will have the following responsibilities.

4.3.1 Monitor crowd behavior in an effort to provide public safety for all members of the University community including visitors, prevent destruction of property (personal and University), reduce the potential for violence, and address “quality of life” issues.

4.3.2 Enforce University rules and regulations and remain ready to address criminal violations through law enforcement measures.

4.4 General Guidelines

4.4.1 Bonfires will not be permitted without:

4.4.1.a. approval of the Chancellor or his/her designee;

4.4.1.b. approval of the Director of Police and Public Safety;

4.4.1.c. a properly executed permit from the Robeson County Fire Marshal’s Office;

4.4.1.d. approval of the Pembroke Rural Fire Department Chief; and

4.4.1.e. approval of EH&S.

4.4.2 At no time will any form of flammable liquids be allowed at a scheduled bonfire event.  Any flammable liquid found will be confiscated and properly secured by Police and Public Safety.

4.4.3 At no time will unauthorized fuels be used/added to the bonfire (eg., furniture, University property, or any other material designated unsafe).

4.4.4 Bonfire Size and Duration. A bonfire shall not be more than 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet in dimension and shall not be permitted to burn longer than three (3) hours.

4.4.5 Material. Fuel for a bonfire shall consist only of seasoned dry fire wood and shall be ignited with a small quantity of paper. At no time will unauthorized fuels (pressure treated or painted wood) be used or added to the bonfire.  No accelerants (i.e. gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) can be used to ignite or sustain the fire.

4.4.6 Weather Conditions. In the event winds exceed 25 miles per hour the bonfire will be immediately extinguished. Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions when atmospheric or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited.

4.4.7 Location. The University must approve the bonfire location. The location shall not be less than 100 feet from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 100 feet of any structure.

4.4.8 Safety Zone. A perimeter not less than 10 feet on all sides shall be established around the bonfire that prohibits access to all spectators.

4.4.9 The sponsor and all assistants must wear appropriate clothing. Full length trousers (jeans are recommended, polyester is prohibited) and closed toed shoes (no open toed shoes, sandals, or flip-flops). Safety glasses are recommended.

4.4.10 Ash Disposal. The sponsor shall coordinate with Facilities Operations to provide a medium sized metal can with a lid filled with water to immerse the remaining burning embers after the initial extinguishment of the fire, and provide a metal shovel and stiff bristled broom to scoop up the ashes and place them into the metal can. Once the remaining embers and ashes have been placed into the metal can, the cover shall be placed on the can at the conclusion of the event.

4.4.11 The possession, use or consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs is prohibited during any UNCP sponsored event.

4.4.12 If special parking needs or requests are indicated, please contact University Police at 910-521-6235.


5.1 The following procedure should be followed and viewed as a checklist to assist in attaining the goal of a safe and successful bonfire event.

5.1.1 The bonfire sponsor organization should initiate contact with the following to inform of intent to host a bonfire. Pembroke Rural Fire Department UNCP Police and Public Safety Office of Environmental Health and Safety Facilities Operations

5.1.2 Obtain “open burning” permit application (Fire Prevention Form I) from the Robeson County Fire Marshall. Application must be submitted for approval at least 30 days prior to event.

5.1.3 Meet with Police and Public Safety to determine security needs at least three (3) weeks prior to event.

5.1.4 Submit plan of action, site drawing, and copy of completed open burning application to EH&S for review/approval at least two (2) weeks prior to event.

5.1.5 Request/Confirm with Police and Public Safety if using parking lot(s) in any way at least two (2) weeks prior to event.

5.1.6 Confirm Facilities Operations’ ability to provide fuel (wood), set-up, and cleanup for the site on the planned date of the bonfire at least one (1) week prior to event.

5.1.7 Confirm Pembroke Rural Fire Department will be “on site” or “in service” at least one week prior to event. Costs may be associated with having the fire department on site.


6.1 All requests for burning permits (bonfires) shall go through the Robeson County Fire Marshal’s Office.

6.2 All bonfires will be in locations approved by the Chancellor or his/her designee, Police and Public Safety, Pembroke Rural Fire Department, and EH&S.

6.3 All bonfires must be contained in an approved manner.

6.4 Facilities Operations will be responsible for building all bonfires. Only wood supplied by Facilities Operations is to be used. A work order should be submitted to Facilities Operations requesting material and barriers. Once the wood made available by Facilities for the designated event has been used, the fire should be allowed to go out or be extinguished. No outside wood or flammable is to be used to prolong the fire.

6.5 Extinguishment Authority. Extinguishment shall be ordered by the Pembroke Rural Fire Department, Police and Public Safety, or EH&S if guidelines are not adhered to or open burning creates or adds to a hazard or objectionable situation.

6.6 No fire shall be constructed during prolonged dry periods.

6.7 The sponsoring organization will be responsible for all incidents of damage or injuries related to the bonfire.


7.1 UNCP Bonfire Request Form

7.2 Robeson County Fire Marshall – Fire Prevention Form I