This safety protocol has been established to assist persons who are planning to erect a Bonfire on Montana State University property. Bonfires may not be constructed on university property without prior written permission from the Department of Sports Facilities. The following is a checklist of safety requirements and guidelines, which have been developed to ensure that Bonfires are constructed and maintained safely.

Bonfire Safety Checklist

  1. Notifying the Appropriate Authorities
    1. Requests to erect a Bonfire should be received by MSU Sports Facilities no less than 30 days prior to the date of the event.
    2. The Bonfire permit will be supplied and signed by the Director of MSU Sports Facilities, Director of Safety & Risk Management or the MSU Fire Marshal.
    3. Representatives from Sports Facilities will determine the availability of the space. MSU Safety and Risk and the Bozeman Fire Department will determine if appropriate safety personnel and equipment will be able to accommodate the event.
    4. Representatives from MSU Sports Facilities, MSU Safety and Risk, the Requestor and the Bozeman Fire Department will inspect the proposed bonfire site and will review safety requirements with the Requestor prior to the event.
  2. Conditional Requirements
    1. Wind- Winds may not exceed twenty miles per hour (20 mph) for at least 30 minutes before the fire is set, or the event must be postponed until such time as the wind velocity has receded to 20mph or less. MSU Fire Marshal will verify and determine the wind conditions.
    2. Burn Ban- A Bonfire will not be permitted when a Burn Ban is in place for the MSU Campus.
    3. Resource Availability- A Bonfire will not be permitted until it is verified that University Police, MSU Fire Marshall, Bozeman Fire Department, and MSU Sports Facilities are able to provide the appropriate resources, including the space, for the Bonfire.
  3. Fueling the Fire
    1. The use of gasoline, kerosene, paper products, including but not limited to, cardboard, newspaper, shredded wood packing and popcorn packing insulation is PROHIBITED.
    2. Wooden boards and logs may be used to fuel the bonfire. Such materials may be presoaked using CHARCOAL LIGHTER FLUID. Charcoal lighter fluid is the only recognized accelerant approved by MSU Safety and Risk Management. Presoaked fireplace logs may be purchased from most major food and/or convenience stores may also be used to fuel the fire.
    3. It will be the responsibility of MSU Facilities Services to remove the lid on the fire pit and stack all boards and logs to be used in the fire pit. Fuel should be loaded in accordance with the attached diagrams for maximum fuel load, based on the type of fuel being used. If user desires to stack own fuel, Facilities Services will be responsible for inspection during and after the stacking of the wood.
    4. No additional fuel may be added to the bonfire after the fire is lit.
  4. Lighting the Fire
    1. MSU Fire Marshall will provide a 60-inch torch/stick with the tip presoaked with charcoal lighter fluid to ignite the fire.
    2. The fire shall be ignited with the wind at one’s back. Caution should be exercised if additional lighter fluid is added following the initial lighting.
    3. Lighting shall take place under the direction of the MSU Fire Marshal or Bozeman Fire Department
  5. Security and Fire Ground Monitors
    1. The MSU Police, Bozeman City Fire Department, Sports Facility Event Manager and the MSU Fire Marshall or his designee must be present and all pre-fire safety precautions procedures complete before the fire can be lit.
    2. The Requestor will be responsible for providing a minimum of four (4) Fire Brand Monitors. Fire Brand Monitors will assist trained personnel with visually monitoring the floating firebrands (airborne lighted particles) as well as keeping onlookers at a safe distance from the fire. Should a fire erupt caused by a firebrand the monitor must not attempt to extinguish the fire but should immediately contact the nearest safety officer.
    3. The Fire must be constructed at a size not to exceed 12ft wide at the base by 8ft tall stacked conically, in accordance with the attached Fuel Load Dimension Diagrams and must be supervised at all times.
    4. To ensure personal safety, unauthorized persons shall not engage in the activity of fire suppression but shall notify a safety official immediately.
  6. Extinguishments and Cleanup
    1. A minimum of two (2) type 10lb. ABC extinguishers and two (2) five-gallon size containers of water or two (2) 2-1/2 gallon water type extinguishers should be available and accessible to control the fire. These will be supplied by the MSU Fire Marshal or the MSU Safety and Risk.
    2. Fire department apparatus shall be readily accessible before the Bonfire is started and shall remain exclusively available for fire control throughout the event or until the fire has been full extinguished. In the event that the fire apparatus is dispatched on an emergency call, the items noted above in F-1 should be readily available for use by university safety personnel.
    3. The Bozeman Fire Department will extinguish the fire.
    4. Securing hand tools and restoring the burn site to its original condition within one week or prior to the next event at the fire pit, whichever occurs first, shall be the responsibility of the Requestor.
    5. Charred materials shall be deposited in a container, provided by MSU Facilities Services, and fully immersed in water and remain in the drum on location until picked up by MSU Facilities Services or is otherwise properly disposed.
    6. In instances where materials contain nails, it will be the responsibility of the requestor to thoroughly clear the burn site of nails or other sharp items after use.
    7. Charred materials may not be deposited into campus refuse receptacles (dumpsters).
  7. Financial Considerations
    1. Requestor is responsible for all charges related to the Bonfire Event.

Important Telephone Numbers

University Fire Marshal - 406.994.7583

Sports Facilities - 406.994.7117

Estimate of Expenses for Bonfire

Facilities Services $500
Wood Stacking by Facilities Services $500
University Police (2 officers for 4 hours) $400
University Parking $100
Bozeman Fire Department $0
Sports Facilities (Depends on additional requests. Cost listed is probable minimum) $250
Estimated Total $1750
Note: These are estimates only. Actual charges will be billed.

Required Fields*

Applicant Information





Event Information




Requestor agrees to abide by all aspects of the attached Montana State University Bonfire Protocol and to keep the signed copy of this permit and Bonfire Policy on-site at the Bonfire for the duration of the event. This permit does not constitute an event contract, and as such, Requestor is also required to hold a valid event contract with MSU Sports Facilities.

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