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Gas Canister Stoves Question

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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:39 am

AlmostThere wrote:Fires caused by camp stoves?

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ ... s-at-7-673

An alcohol stove caused one of the biggest fires in recent history in southern California. I remember reading about it but google news won't go back far enough to find the articles.

The Hewlett fire in Colorado is a well documented case where the guy admitted what happened - he stepped away from his alcohol stove briefly and the next thing he knew there was a fire he couldn't put out. This illustrated that alcohol stoves, like any stove, can indeed start a fire, that should be obvious. It also seems obvious that alcohol would not be the safest stove because the flame is hard to see and the fuel can be spilled. If regulations are going to allow and prohibit various stoves, then what is needed is the relative risk from the various stove types. In other words, how many other fires have been accidentally ignited over the years from all the various stove types and fuels out there? Or better yet, is there test data to show that certain stoves are more likely to start a fire. Unfortunately, regulations often follow a high profile disaster when emotions are stronger than logic.

I'm headed into Desolation Wilderness this weekend and found this interesting language on the latest temporary stove restrictions there, effective July 1. It's even more vague and actually seems less restrictive than the historic language used for prohibiting stoves.

"However, persons with a valid Campfire Permit may use a pressurized gas or contained fuel stove."



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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:43 am

HikeSierraNevada wrote: Unfortunately, regulations often follow a high profile disaster when emotions are stronger than logic.

I'm headed into Desolation Wilderness this weekend and found this interesting language on the latest temporary stove restrictions there, effective July 1. It's even more vague and actually seems less restrictive than the historic language used for prohibiting stoves.

"However, persons with a valid Campfire Permit may use a pressurized gas or contained fuel stove."


It would take a phone call to verify, and I might just do that because I'm curious, but I bet you that is intended to include white gas stoves, which are not pressurized until you use the pump. Or the sterno types.

And I have to wonder where Esbit is in all of this....
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:43 pm

AlmostThere wrote:It would take a phone call to verify, and I might just do that because I'm curious, but I bet you that is intended to include white gas stoves, which are not pressurized until you use the pump. Or the sterno types.

And I have to wonder where Esbit is in all of this....

And that's the issue with these vague regulations - interpreting the intention of the law. If you call each of the permitting stations for Desolation and talk with a variety of people, I wonder how many different answers you will get.

Getting back to the start of this thread, it seems like an iso-butane canister stove is commonly allowed and it's logically the safest stove type in my opinion. Just lighting a stove can start a fire, but the canister stove probably reduces the human error potential the most of any stove or fuel out there in terms of flame control, flame visibility, instant shut off, ease of use, no priming, no spillage, no sparks.

Being an engineer, I can't help but tinker and repair a mechanical device like my old MSR Whisperlite. I wasted a lot of time keeping that antique going until I actually threw mine in the trash years ago to resist the temptation to rebuild it yet again. No regrets.

I suppose others will argue about the relative safety of a pressurize liquid white gas stove, but I found over years of experience the priming process can leak fuel just like an alcohol stove, and the priming process with white gas can cause soot to build up, clog a jet and cause a big flare up. Furthermore, they don't shut off immediately, the fuel within the supply line continues to burn for a while before going out. IMHO, I would consider a white gas pressurize liquid fuel system to be in the same risk category as an alcohol stove.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:36 pm

AlmostThere wrote:And I have to wonder where Esbit is in all of this....

I'm still waiting for someone to explain what "jellied petroleum" is. Sterno is "jellied" but it's not petroleum. Perhaps Esbit can be classified as such, if you like your jellie hard and dried out, I think that fits it. ;)
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby fishmonger » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:17 pm

HikeSierraNevada wrote:I'm still waiting for someone to explain what "jellied petroleum" is.


it's napalm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napalm
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby austex » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:37 pm

Not splitting hairs, but Napalm is gelled gasoline Sterno is gelled alcohol, both petroleum products with different gelling agents:
Wikipedia- Invented around 1900, Sterno is made from ethanol, methanol, water and an amphoteric oxide gelling agent, plus a dye that gives it a characteristic pink color. Designed to be odorless, a 7 oz (198 g) can will burn for up to two hours. The methanol is added to denature the product, which essentially is intended to make it too toxic to be drinkable
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