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USDA alert no fire allowed?

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USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby bsd » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:22 am

I already have all my gear in order, headed to the Florence lake area, then to Wishon area. I got my fire permit back in May. No fires? I will be hiking around for three days, to fairly secluded areas. Now what?



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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby The hermit » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:54 am

Bring a stove. I instead of staring down at a campfire all night let your eyes adjust and look up at the stars. Could be the best part of your trip.
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:39 am

What do you mean now what?

No one needs a fire. Go regularly above 10,000 feet and you get used to no fire... unless you're like those jerks we ran across who walked past the sign saying "no fires above 10,000 feet" on the way up to the high alpine lake and proceeded to drag dead wood all the way up there and do it anyway, leaving a huge black scar behind.

(If you're reading this, jerks, I sent your picture to the ranger...)

You figure out how to take layers that work for the temperatures you get. And you get to go fishing, talk to each other, play cards, etc instead of gathering wood and feeding it to the flames.

Don't forget your headnet... There will be some left.
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:02 am

BSD wrote:
I already have all my gear in order, headed to the Florence lake area, then to Wishon
area. I got my fire permit back in May. No fires? I will be hiking around for three days, to
fairly secluded areas. Now what?


Now what? Hope cancelling your trip because you cannot have a fire hasn't crossed your
mind! If you need light carry a latern, if you need warmth carry extra clothes, if you need
inspiration look up at the thousands of more stars you'll be able to see with your night vision.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby bsd » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:48 am

Ya, looks like I'm stove'n it up there. What a bummer, most my buddies canceled on me. 'Tis the season...
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby Tom_H » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:59 pm

Growing up in Boy Scouts, we always had a fire at night. I have a lot of nostalgic memories of those days. The terrain we were in, however, allowed us to build fires safely with no damage to the environment. The soil was sandy and there was no duff through which the fire could spread, and forest growth was prolific which meant we were not depleting the amount of nutrient being returned to the soil by decomposition. Evidence of fire disappeared very quickly.

When I became a guide in Colorado, we learned how to build small fires on which we could cook and bake, and then return the soil to its original condition. I remember a day a ranger came through camp to give us a talk about low impact fires. We pointed to a square meter area within which our fire had been; he was unable to find the perimeter line of the fire pit we had dug.

This was in the mid-70s and backpacking ethics were moving to "leave no trace" as well as "Take only memories; leave only footprints; make only pictures." We began using stoves. Cooking with stoves can be accomplished in 10% of the time that open fire takes. Even when cooking from scratch, it takes less than half the time. One of the things I hated about those big fires in my scouting days was the smoke; I remember constantly moving in order to find a place I could breathe. I remember our clothes and hair reeking of smokey stench.

When we moved to stoves, I also discovered how a candle lantern can give off just as much romantic flicker as a big fire, with much less hassle. I discovered how beautiful the starry sky can be with no competing photons from the fire. I discovered how much less work there is to get a stove started. I discovered how incredibly less work there is to clean the cooking pots and pans. I discovered that I could breathe fresh air.

The danger of forest fire is very real. Two years ago we had an insanely wet winter, the water from which enabled a lot of undergrowth. Many locations of the Sierra floor are currently a parched tinderbox. Someone who builds a fire for the romanticism is also risking the destruction of habitat for a lot of nature. He is also risking the lives of other backpackers, of people in areas adjacent to the wilderness, and of the brave firefighters called into action. Just look at what happened recently in Arizona. Sub-alpine areas have little deadfall that can be recycled into nutrients for new growth. Fires in sub-alpine areas deplete those nutrients; they leave unsightly scars on rocks and the ground, they leave downed logs stripped of branches and metaphorically screaming, "Look, humans were here!"

As you can see, quite a few forum members are upset with your posts and the frame of mind you take about fires. They feel that way because they want to preserve the beautiful wilderness we all must share. They don't want to see it burned down. They don't want to see people die. They want to experience the wilderness in a condition that looks like it truly is wild. The fact that some people seem to care only about themselves and not about these other factors brings out the deep feelings you see in some of the responses in this thread.

Your friends are selling themselves short by not going with you. The missed experience is their loss. On the other hand, if they cannot go without fire, we are all (them included) better off with them staying home. If you think your trip is going to be a "bummer", it will be. But it won't be so because you can't build a fire. It will be a bummer because you decided ahead of time it was going to be that way. Go with an open mind. Go with the idea that you will be able to cook and clean up more easily. Go with the idea that you are preserving the wilderness for others and for its own intrinsic value. Go with the idea that you will breath air so much cleaner than at home. Go with the idea that you are going to gaze upon millions of stars and reflect upon the amazing vastness and complexity of the universe beyond. Decide ahead of time that you are going to have an amazing experience...and you will!
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby bsd » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:28 pm

That was an awesome post. I love the outdoors and respect nature and I respect the rules. I was just bummed because of some of my friends wanted to bail, and we like to sit around a fire and hang out. Some of them seem to be coming around about the whole idea of just enjoying the experience; looking forward to an exciting adventure with good friends, fire or not.
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby DAVELA » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:39 am

while i dont hate fires i find them a hindrance when camping if anything...they completely suck your attention from the beauty of the dark stillness of the night and the mesmerizing display of stars above you.I think weve been conditioned to have a fire at night out of some irrational fear of the dark-keep away wild animals and humans.I went on a meetup backpack last year with 4 other people who i didnt know and campfire,music and booze were the routine for 3 nights{i cant understand bringing any one of those 3 to the backcountry}.I might as well have gone out to some hollywood bar.Ive never backpacked with others before that and i def wont in the future if they arent granola like me!Ive thought of going with others but hiking with a great distance betwween us and just meeting at camp maybe.Solo camping rocks but my sentiment to being alone might be changing.Getting older maybe?
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby The hermit » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:56 am

Dont get me wrong fires have their place. I enjoy a good fire with friends. Thats usually on the beach, not in the wilds. Too much smoke too much work too messy etc. Plus people always want to add wood and then realize their tired. Then I'm stuck watching the fire. Thanks alot. The worst is when they stoke the fire in the morning! More smoke and hanging around all morning. Not like we came to hike or anything. I cant count how many times I've seen people struggle to start a fire.damp wood is no good(smoke). One rarely finds anything like oak or madrone in the sierra.Pine and fir just dont make a great campfire.so much better to just enjoy the evening!
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:33 am

Tom_H wrote:As you can see, quite a few forum members are upset with your posts and the frame of mind you take about fires.


FYI, I'm not upset with the OP = in wetter years my group will have a fire when it's legal to do so, depending on the group's level of exhaustion after dark.

What I'm upset with are the folks out there who feel they are somehow special and get to ignore reasonable precautions or regulations.
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:09 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
Tom_H wrote:As you can see, quite a few forum members are upset with your posts and the frame of mind you take about fires.


FYI, I'm not upset with the OP = in wetter years my group will have a fire when it's legal to do so, depending on the group's level of exhaustion after dark.

What I'm upset with are the folks out there who feel they are somehow special and get to ignore reasonable precautions or regulations.


Completely understand. I found myself very much agreeing with the things you said in your post.
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Re: USDA alert no fire allowed?

Postby Flux » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:42 pm

A buddy of mine once put it to me like this:

You want to be responsible for thousands of acres burning??

Banning fires might be one of the best things ever done to preserve the wilderness.
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