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Should there be a campfire?

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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby longri » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:37 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:Although the regulations state you cannot build any new fire rings...

...Back in 2011 when I built a pit at the main camping location of Upper Tent Meadow I noticed evidence of other pits having been broken up. When I went by this year I noticed my pit was gone. Considering this area is legal I'm not sure why they are being destroyed.

Maybe because your pit, being a new one, wasn't actually legal? I appreciate that you consider it a valid place for one but the regulation says to not build any new ones. For all we know it was a ranger who removed your pit.

I get the impression talking to backcountry rangers that they spend a fair amount of time breaking down fire rings. I ran into one SEKI ranger a couple of years ago who was so covered in soot that she looked like a chimney sweep. It was quite funny.



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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:02 pm

Rogue wrote:
This is one thing I don't understand sometimes either. Back in 2011 when I built a
pit at the main camping location of Upper Tent Meadow I noticed evidence of other
pits having been broken up. When I went by this year I noticed my pit was gone.
Considering this area is legal I'm not sure why they are being destroyed.


Minimum impact regulations SEKI NP writes:

Campfires
Wood fires are permitted in Kings Canyon National Park below 10,000 feet elevation except in Granite Basin and Redwood Canyon.

Fires are permitted in the Kaweah River Drainage of Sequoia National Park below 9000 feet elevation except at Hamilton Lakes, Pinto Lake, and Mineral King Valley.

Fires are permitted in the Kern River Drainage of Sequoia National Park below 10,400 feet elevation with some exceptions.

* Use only existing fire rings; do not build new ones. Do not add rocks to existing rings.

* Use only dead and down firewood. Do not chop live vegetation or remove dead
branches from standing trees.

* Fires must always be attended.

* Do not burning aluminum foil, foil-lined packets, or plastic. Plastics emit toxic fumes
and foil does not completely burn.

* Put out fires 1/2 hour before leaving by adding water and stirring the ashes. Don't use
dirt to put out fires.


http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/camp_bc.htm
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby freestone » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:12 pm

I used this in the 1990s

Image

I use a Bushbuddy now, which does a better job of protecting the site because it's self enclosed. I can boil several cups of water on chips of wood, and even charcoal pieces left over from campfires that did not burn completely down to ash. The end result is a cup or two of fine white ash. Used mostly in the Los Padres only these days.

Image
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby longri » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:20 pm

That's a nice wood stove. But it isn't a campfire. Nobody is going to want to sit around that and sing.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby TahoeJeff » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:02 pm

I spend a fair amount of time in Desolation where all fires are absolutely forbidden. Every fire ring I come across, I dismantle. There still seem to be new rings all the time though. My son and I have started bringing a small lidded plastic container on trips. We pick up every piece of broken glass and aluminum foil we find that almost always litter the old fire rings in most well used sites. Also, we pick all the fishing line, hooks, weights, lures etc. we find around lakes. Of course all the food wrappers and other garbage gets picked up too. So you can whine on line about all the unpleasant things found in the back country, or you can try and do something about it and make a difference.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby freestone » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:04 pm

But it isn't a campfire.


Take the pot off, and it's a campfire. Do we really need a bonfire in rocks stacked five high to sing and enjoy the cheer of a fire in the evening?
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:23 pm

You really do not need a ring for a fire. In fact, I do not like rock rings, because eventually your fire sits in a hole and does not get adequate ventilation from below. You simply need to clear a circle of duff and burnable material (like small pine cones, twigs), or preferably start with dirt or sand. Then build your fire. When twigs fall to the side, just push them back into the fire. If you use smaller wood pieces and burn the fire totally, all you have left is a small pile of ashes. There are no soot scarred rocks. Once the ash is totally doused, you could then either scatter the ash or burry them in a hole (like you burry your poop). Then you can "landscape" the site and leave it pretty much with little trace.

If there already is a ring, I use it, but make a vent tunnel. Most established fire pits have too much ash and wood to scatter or burry. I just take a little out as my small part. And pick out others trash if it is there. I do admit that I do not carry out other's glass bottles - just too heavy. Mostly what I find is aluminum foil and food packaging. If I carry a large rock over to sit on, then I carry it back to where I found it.

The same concept should be used when setting up your tent. If you use rocks to tie down the tent, then move them back to where they initially were located. One problem I have with established sites, is that the fire ring is usually too close to the only flat clear spot to set up a tent. It only takes small sparks to put tiny holes in your tent fly, and although the tent fly looks OK you will have small leaks. Same with standing around a fire in your expensive rain jacket. You will get tiny holes from the fire.

I personally hate established campsites. They usually are very dirty. I prefer to set my tent on pristine sand or small gravel. On the other hand, my husband loves established campsites, and to him, the more features (such as benches) the more he likes it. He was a boy scout way back in the 1950's, so I think those features remind him of good times and outdoor ambiance of that age. To him it is an integral part of the outdoor experience. I do not think it is my job to judge his idea of what makes his wilderness experience. By the way, he is an excellent fire-builder. His fires are perfect and burn like a charm. Years ago when we got caught in a freak snowstorm (it generally does not snow that low) on the North Fork of the American River while winter backpacking, and I got soaked, he gallantly built a fire from soaked wood and dried my clothes while I snuggled inside my sleeping bag.

In this whole issue, I agree with what others have said. If it is legal then let it be. Nobody is forcing you to have a campfire - it is your choice. And if you do not like seeing or camping near fire rings, then just go somewhere else.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:46 pm

Sometimes a fire is very comforting (Trinity 2009):

P9290062.JPG


It was an established ring with a nice kitchen rock right next to it. Not heavily used like places near Island lk in the Dinkeys, so lots of wood around.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:31 pm

Well sure I assume that it was a Ranger that broke it up but that only leaves further questions like who exactly gets to decide where a fire pit can go? Who gets to build it? Perhaps it's right but seems weird to just build fires anywhere you want on the ground because after all nothing says you cannot do that.

I'm sure when it came to that pit there was more thought involved then it wasn't approved.

Also in 2011 I built a fire pit in Glacier Valley near the lower meadow. When I came back this year it was still there. I talked to one Ranger that knew of the pit but said it was fine because it was below 10,000.

I just think there is a middle ground with everything. I have and most likely will continue to build fire pits illegally but I will continue to exercise good judgement about where I do so.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:06 pm

guessing no pics of other fire rings. Seems if it was a social center at certain times there would be pics of the ring or kitchen rocks. not meaning to detract from Paul's original post, but some of us are actually responsible.
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