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Old 01-03-2015, 02:05 PM   #1
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Boondocking CAMPFIRES

I have gone camping with friends during my life that "camping requires a camp fire" to be... camping. It is something that we in western Montana never found as a threat to the forests or to ourselves.

With an Airstream I have lost that need for a campfire while camped in some remote location. In a desert. In the forest. On the prairie. In National Grasslands, Badlands or a designated Forest Service Campground. But... lets not consider any of those who still cherish the thought of having a campfire as some kind of fool from the City that will burn themselves and everyone else in the process.

Common Sense is a scarce commodity. Always has been. People in a city burn their apartment building down by putting a charcoal grill in the living room for heat. These are not "campers". Arson is not... camping. The vast majority of forest and grass fires are caused by everything BUT a camper. Lightening being the number ONE culprit. Coal burning locomotives needed "fire men" in the caboose to watch for spot fires created by hot embers coming out of the stack. Cigarettes discarded out the window along highways rate up there.

Designated camp sites have areas for a camp fire. When the risk of fire is high... common sense, again, should tell you that it is not a good time for a family tradition. A raging camp fire will carry embers into the pine trees around your camping site.

ALL hunter camps seem to have a campfire used since the forest service plowed access into the back country. My father worked for a time for the Montana Forest Service... biggest forest fire culprit... LIGHTENING STRIKES.

A campfire is not a bonfire. A large group of juveniles drinking around a bonfire is not... a campfire. Devil worshippers at a remote location dancing around a pile of logs with gasoline as a starter fluid is not a campfire.

Enjoy your campfire. It creates light, heat and the smoke will keep insects from wanting to get too close to you. Dowse your fire before you bed down. When leaving a campsite, water the fire OUT and bury it. The next camper will remove what is needed and improve upon what you left.

Stop at the local Forest Service office to get some expert opinions as to what is best and if this is the time to enjoy what we all remember with fond memories... sitting around a campfire, telling stories and... eating smoke.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:31 PM   #2
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I split wood very small for campfires. That way you are not constantly messing with the wood to get it, or keep it burning. Also much easier to let it burn out, or to put it out.

I saw some tenters using 1/3 pieces of duraflame, for light, and to start a fire. I WOULD NOT cook over a duraflame ( black soot on hot dogs )

Campfires certainly bring people together. Some of the most heart felt conversations ever, have been around a fire.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:16 PM   #3
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How to spot the bad campers with no campfire experience.

Their nylon down jackets have small holes from hot campfire embers.

Their expensive nylon tent will be full of holes from hot campfire embers.

What to do?
Put some distance between you and them.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:34 PM   #4
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I don't get the whole campfire thing. Sometimes the Bridge Bay campground in Yellowstone on a July evening is pretty much toxic with a markedly reduced visibility all because 365 people have to build a fire in their fire ring.

On occasion, sure I can see the attraction. But a giant bonfire every night?

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Old 01-04-2015, 12:30 PM   #5
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Too many Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello beach movies for the bonfires.

There was a time... long ago... up into the late 1950's where home owners in towns in Montana burned their Fall leaf piles in the front or/and back yard. I never recall, as a kid, anyone burning anything except that... leaves. Same with trash in Cheyenne, Wyoming... into the 1970's where you would burn your trash in concrete receptacles in the alley and the trash men would shovel it out. Air quality eventually became a big issue.

Rock Springs, Wyoming on a sub zero morning had a "fog" of firewood smoke just above the rooftops as you entered the city. I am sure that has changed as well.

Many from the more urban areas consider having a campfire a long lost tradition that is not acceptable in most parts of the more populated areas. They think nothing of buying a tied pack of seven to ten split pieces of pine firewood to stoke up a fire. Connecting with what people have done since fire was discovered... repeatable without the assistance of a lightening strike (I have to assume). So, I do understand that for many, this is the only opportunity to live a bit... wild.

Bonfires... that is more for the "beer keg youth" expression of liberation. After some University deaths/injuries from collapsing bonfires on campuses... even that may be waining.

Almost all of the National Forest Camp Grounds have fire pits. At least there is a controlled space for a traditional campfire. Maybe a good way to slowly use up the millions of dead beetle kill pine that the west is disposing slowly.

Some times, you must be the caretaker of the Forest and put out campfires that have been abandoned from the stupidity of the few. It can be frustrating at times, but only a good dog can learn new tricks, fools cannot.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:48 PM   #6
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Speaking of dousing campfires, do all of you carry a Gerry jug or bucket in your Airstream as standard hardware?
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Old 01-04-2015, 05:20 PM   #7
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Men have Campfire Options...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineStreamer View Post
Speaking of dousing campfires, do all of you carry a Gerry jug or bucket in your Airstream as standard hardware?
*****
A group of male hunters out for a week are capable of putting out a large number of small fires... as long as their beer holds out. It conserves water. It is sterile. The beer, that is. Men and their inability to evolve from their primitive ancestors discovered their behavior can keep their wives from wanting to come along.

What do these guys do every Fall and come back with no wild game strapped to the hood or top of a station wagon?
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