Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:57 am

I agree that learning to build a fire AND properly put it out is an important wilderness skill. It should however, be practiced in an area with plenty of on-ground wood, in a safe already established fire pit, and during weather/seasonal conditions when forest fire risk is low. Perhaps if those who build fires were taught how to do it properly, campfires would not be the leading cause of forest fires.

I think the point AT was making that she has observed people totally ignoring regulations and building fires when conditions are not safe. I happen to like and use campfires, but honestly, they are a lot of work to do properly. If you are not willing to take the time or know how to do this, then use the stove. I figure building a fire to cook on adds about 1/2 to a hour to camp chores. But then, for some of us, these "chores" really are pleasure.

Few people put out fires properly. You really have to get dirty to do this. Douse the fire, stir, get your fingers in the pit and FEEL for temperature. Particularly feel around the rim of the fire pit. Make sure there are not tree roots in the bottom of the fire pit. Also before making a fire, clear off all burnable material 3-5 feet away. Look up - do not build a fire under tree branches.

Twice a campfire has saved my sorry self. But most of the time a campfire is needed, you have to know how to build it with wet wood. This is not a skill you learn by building a few recreational fires. I learned this after 35 days one horrible June, when it snowed every day and we were totally relying on campfires to cook. (The "old days" in the 60's). Believe me, we would have loved to have stoves! It was work, work, work! And constant anxiety.








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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by Satsuma » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:43 am

We do backpacking every summer for more then 40 years, and so our many friends. Of course all of us know how to do it properly and we never seen a fire caused by people. Current Aspen fire started because of lightening.

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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by 87TT » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:38 am

I guess the point everyone is trying to make is, if you get used to not having a fire, it's not as important as you think. I like campfires myself but if I can't or more importantly "shouldn't" then I'm not all bummed out. I live in the mountains and am always worried about fires until the rains start in the fall/winter. I have been evacuated and had to leave my house twice because of fire adn there was no "lightening". Now if I couldn't have my coffee in the morning............. :paranoid:

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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by Satsuma » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:47 am

I agree, it is not that important, and we would continue backpacking even if fire is never allowed. We always comply the rules, never leave trash and so on, and make fires only in existing rings on lower altitudes and always bring many pots of water from the creek or lake to shut down the fire when we are done.

This thread was very useful for me, it gave me some other point of view.

What do you do in mountains after dinner when it is cold and you are wet after raining? Having fire those days is so helpful! We did JMT last August, and it was raining practically every day.

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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:09 pm

After dinner when it is cold, I go to bed and listen to music!

I have found it useful to dry clothes by a fire when in very rainy conditions. Not that you get them totally dry, but dry enough. But then you smell like bum!

All fires have some impact, so I hesitate to build a fire when I solo. Seems a little excessive. I seldom build a fire just to sit around it - either I cook fish or dry clothes. My husband likes fires. We build very small fires, mostly to cook fish. No need for bonfires. The weather in the Sierra just is not nasty enough to justify lots fires. I build more fires when I backpack in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. But I certainly understand the allure of a nice campfire. For those of us who grew up with campfires, it is a part of the wilderness experience.

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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by iHartMK » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:58 pm

rlown wrote:Here's a concept.. This is the wrong time of year to even think of burning given the lack of rain. Just get over the campfire concept. It's not that hard.

Bring your stove.. make sure there's no punk near it, and cook your food that way.

Why is this hard?
Exactly!
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Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:39 pm

fifty percent of forest fires are caused by campfires. a google search will give you pages of examples, including the one in may that threatened the community of mariposa.

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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by Satsuma » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:21 pm

AlmostThere wrote:fifty percent of forest fires are caused by campfires. a google search will give you pages of examples, including the one in may that threatened the community of mariposa.
OK, there are lots of stupid people in the world. But how those statistic related to me and my husband who are extremely cautious and experienced with fire and never introduced any problem in decades of intensive backpacking?

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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:26 pm

Please do not take folks concerns personal Satsuma, we all here love the Sierra, and
some will speak up sometimes strongly in her defense, warranted or not.
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Re: Where camp fires are not allowed this season?

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:39 pm

Satsuma wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:fifty percent of forest fires are caused by campfires. a google search will give you pages of examples, including the one in may that threatened the community of mariposa.
OK, there are lots of stupid people in the world. But how those statistic related to me and my husband who are extremely cautious and experienced with fire and never introduced any problem in decades of intensive backpacking?
It's related because I am certain that there are hundreds of people out there hiking who think that the rules or the risks or the warnings do not apply to them, ignore them, and through no real fault of their own - stuff happens.

Hundreds of people think the bans on fires don't apply to them. Hundreds of people never imagine they will ever develop hypothermia or altitude sickness. Hundreds of people decide that because they have not gotten lost the last 100 times they went backpacking, they won't get lost this time. Hundreds of people decide that because the last 100 times they did not get hurt, they won't get hurt this time.

Some of those people make the same mistakes or just get unlucky, and have a problem.

It pays to think about the risks and continue to be vigilant, in spite of one's safety record. Because every season people get hurt, lost, accidentally start fires in a moment of inattention or even pay the ultimate price for their simply being in the wrong place at the wrong moment. Sometimes some of my friends - Search and Rescue volunteers, rangers, fire fighters - pay the ultimate price trying to step in and make a difference in those instances.

I'm merely sticking reminders on the internet... take from it what is useful, please keep up the good work in not risking yourself or others.

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