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Should there be a campfire?

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Should there be a campfire?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:56 am

If a ring is less than 100 feet from the water's edge, it doesn't belong. Most of the ones removed were less than 10 feet from water.

Part of the process involves naturalizing the site so there is no scar.

The Rangers who go out with us determine what is legal. don't imagine that any trail crew could do anything without a special permit... Not going to happen.



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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby balzaccom » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:00 pm

My understanding of the volunteer work crews that AT is describing is that they are directed by USFS staff. They are not free-lancing to do whatever they like.

So the decisions are part of the USFS resource management process. Not something to be taken lightly, or "overruled" by enthusiastic hikers who might think they know better...
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby markskor » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:08 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Part of the process involves naturalizing the site so there is no scar.

The Rangers who go out with us determine what is legal. don't imagine that any trail crew could do anything without a special permit... Not going to happen.

Sorry, Seen too many cleaned sites where pits removed were legal. (Even at Dinkey Lakes.)
As to "naturalizing" - no scar left to be seen...I call BS.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby caddis » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:12 pm

I personally avoid any established campsites for the simple fact they are filthy with scattered ash and charcoal. Also, I rarely every build a fire for the reason that AlmostThere stated...they're too much work.

But I have started my own fire "rings" and I disagree with the OP: " There is no way you can have a fire in the wilderness and not leave a trace—even if it is only the barren dirt around your campsite, where you collected all the wood to burn."

You can, I have, it just takes care and effort
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:27 pm

getting a bit heady here. A campfire is a primitive experience, and a cooking experience. It was used for millennium before we ever lived. or at least a few. I love my fish cooked in coals when possible. I've rearranged legal pits for my cooking desires (rectangular pits), and then after they took out my fish with the nets and didn't tell me, i removed the pits.

I'm ok with removing "illegal" pits according to the current rules.

If fires are legal at certain altitudes and certain areas at a given point at time, then let it be.

I can say, I'm not fond of the smell of smoke on all my stuff, unless it helps with the skeeters.
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Should there be a campfire?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:39 pm

markskor wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:Part of the process involves naturalizing the site so there is no scar.

The Rangers who go out with us determine what is legal. don't imagine that any trail crew could do anything without a special permit... Not going to happen.

Sorry, Seen too many cleaned sites where pits removed were legal. (Even at Dinkey Lakes.)
As to "naturalizing" - no scar left to be seen...I call BS.


You can do that all you like... I have seen scars as well, but not caused by trail crew.

You can also pretend a pit is legal yet removed, but my experience is the opposite - I thought a pit within 20 feet of a removed site should go, the ranger said no. People do pit removal without being on trail crew - this, too, I have witnessed first hand. Many strong opinions exist on this matter. Doing it the wrong way happens.
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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby oldranger » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:55 pm

Actually, mark, you can remove fire scars. it is a tedious process involving oven cleaner and wire brushes. Some people can't resist rebuilding a fire ring even when the site is clearly illegal especially when there is a when there is a fire scared rock visible. So would not remove rings unless I could remove all evidence of them. One of my pet peeves is a broken up fie ring with fire blackend rock in evidence all around, even less appealing than the original fire ring. If you are going to do a job do it right!

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Re: Should there be a campfire?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:17 pm

Although the regulations state you cannot build any new fire rings I have quite often done so. I perfectly understand the reasoning for the regulation because I have seen plenty of areas littered with fire pits that are not even any good every 20 yards for half a mile.

Since I spend so much time off trail I naturally go to areas that just don't have established camp sites. One could argue that they would like it just that way to maintain a sense of remoteness but when I arrive at say a lake well within the fire line and there is not a single fire pit on the entire lake then I just build one. I however take pride in many of the sites I establish. I take great care in picking a good camp that others will want to use and very carefully pick where the fire pit will be located in both safety and if possible the existence of natural seats so that no one has to build anything.

I have talked to some Rangers about this regulation and what they suggest in these situations. The woman working at Lodgepole this year suggested I should practice the leave no trail of digging a hole and then covering it up. It's a thought for sure especially if I am lazy.

Some new pits I have established this year:

Goddard Creek in the forest where the Enchanted Gorge dumps you out.
Cunningham Creek in the flat area around 9800F
Long Meadow / Ferguson Creek Although there is a pit next to the creek at the very start of this meadow on the Northern end about a quarter mile South I established a new site in a location that has an old rusted bucket and some trees that were hacked on for no reason I could understand.
Box Canyon at the larger upper lake.

I also broke up several illegal pits as I tend to do when I find them in remote areas the Rangers just wont get to. My judgement of what is legal or should be broken up is based on either altitude restriction (but not always the case) or just pits built in ridiculous locations.

[rimg]Seen too many cleaned sites where pits removed were legal.[/rimg]

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.
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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

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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.

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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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