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Fire restrictions and stoves

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Fire restrictions and stoves

Postby freestone » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:12 am

There were some recent responses to various other thread questions that made reference to the current fire restrictions, and what is considered allowable as a stove and fuel source. Since I plan on spending some time in the SEKI park during this restriction, and I use alcohol as a fuel source, I posed the question directly to the Park, and here is their response to my e-mail note:


I spoke to a Park Ranger in the Wilderness Office. They told me that in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park alcohol fueled burners are permitted. If you are planning to travel in Sequoia National Forest, their regulations are different. A Ranger from Inyo National Forest stated that their regulations allow for alcohol fuel as long as the stove has an on/off switch and the fuel is pressurized. If the US Forest Service Regulations are a bit confusing feel free to contact your local USFS District Office for further clarification.

I hope this answers your question. Please enjoy your visit to our parks.

Tyson Borm, Park Ranger

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks


I'm not aware on any pressurized alcohol stove systems, so the only option in Inyo NF is a canister or pressurized white gas system such as Svea 123. If I take my alcie setup, I'd better get over the crest in a day, or else...

A quick check on the Yosemite and Sierra NF sites do not list any obvious restrictions in place now, but sometimes these sites are not updated, so a note or phone call is the best way to get the most current information.



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Re: Fire restrictions and stoves

Postby RichardCullip » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:21 am

The current "rules" are confusing to say the least. A lot of it depends on who you talk to and it seems that there is a lot of individual interpretation going on. I was in the Lone Pine Visitor's Center picking up my wilderness permit last Saturday for a 2 night 3 day trip into the GTW to fish the Cottonwood Lakes basin opening day (July 1st). The fellow behind the desk, who processed my wilderness permit, said the only stoves permitted where ones with an on/off valve. I had a strong impression that I might have gotten a different answer if I asked somebody else. Luckily for me, I was planning on going stoveless and had only brought food that required cold water for rehydration.
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Re: Fire restrictions and stoves

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:24 pm

Some stoves that burn white gas are "multi-fuel" and also will burn alcohol. These stoves have an off-on switch. But the reason people use the small home-made alcohol stoves is that they are considerably lighter. Burning alcohol in a multi-fuel stove saves no weight - the stoves are intended for those who do international travel where alcohol is more readily available as fuel. I suppose if you have a sensitivity to the smell/fumes from white gas, alcohol may be a better fuel for you.
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Re: Fire restrictions and stoves

Postby longri » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:38 pm

There are lightweight pressurized alcohol stoves. You can find instructions on the internet for how to produce one out of soda can. A switch is just some mechanism for changing between two or more states, frequently on/off. So as long as you have a reliable means for turning your alcohol stove off at any time then you have a switch.

Now it's likely that the USFS means that the fuel is pressurized by a pump and not by heat and that the switch be something in the plumbing rather than a Trangia-style suffocation cap. But the email above isn't clear about that.

Letter of the law aside, it seems to me the intent is to insure that your stove is unlikely to start a fire. In my limited experience with alcohol stoves I can understand why the USFS would be concerned about them.
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Re: Fire restrictions and stoves

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:59 pm

I think you are playing the devil's advocate in suggesting a suffocation cap equals a switch. I also think that anyone who knows how to use a soda/cat can alcohol stove knows exactly what they mean by a switch. So if you're smart enough to argue the semantics of thier language, you're obviously smart enough to do what they mean.
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Re: Fire restrictions and stoves

Postby freestone » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:41 pm

An e-mail answer from the Inyo NF regarding Alcohol stoves:

You can use an alcohol stove and any pressurized liquid fuel stove with an on off valve. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 425777.pdf
Phone us with questions 760 873-2483.


Is a Trangia snuffer an on-off devise or valve? I think the Trangia is just about the safest most stable alcohol system out there and the snuffer is instantly effective, but maybe they are thinking of something with more mechanical moving parts. As an avid user of such stoves, I never have more than ounce (30mL) at a time, the goal being just enough fuel to boil 2 cup of water but better to go canister and avoid the risk of fine, or worse, starting a forest fire!

A check of the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness websites suggests this is a ban to protect the Eastern Sierra areas managed from the Bishop office, but Sequoia NF has a similar ban as well.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 425849.pdf
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