Campfires--yes or no? - Page 7 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-24-2015, 11:58 PM   #85
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One of my favorite campfire experiences is to go hear the Park Ranger speak at night. S/he makes a terrific fire before the program starts, we hear interesting stories about the park and afterwards we linger around the fire.

Recently we camped all around the south island of New Zealand. There were almost no fire rings at the campsites. Most campground areas had no designated parking/camping spaces either. It was basically, European style, free for all. Occasionally, there would be ONE firepit for the whole campground. Usually the first family to arrive had "dibs" on the firepit.

I think it really would be a great thing if our U.S. campgrounds had ONE firepit per campground to which everyone was invited. With a little prompting from the campground host or an outgoing camper we could have an old-fashioned campfire circle with guitars, singing and ghost stories. Now THAT would be something!
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:28 AM   #86
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Check out Sun Set Campground Death Valley (It's in California). 270 camp sits, 2 fire rings, one next to the Campground hosts and one near the middle. I've used both. Different times and years, I brought out my Mountain Dulcimer, we had fire and I ended up entertaining a few folks. However there was a lot that didn't come by. Maybe because in both cases it was a BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair) event.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:52 AM   #87
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How does one go about getting the wood brought with, authorized as "OK"? We have always brought from home and it was bug-free, native hardwood, with some fat pine from our own 20 acres; it is not a proper steak or pork chop without white oak or hickory. My DH just can't believe the little bundles for sale at quickie food stores. I also have been a scavenger and picked up local twigs and branches for kindling ( the only place I do not do this is in certain S Fla. campgrounds due to the native Poisonwood trees looking just like the native Gumbo Limbo tree). I bring homemade fire starters made of paraffin covered egg carton sections/tp or paper towel tubes stuffed with dryer lint or pine straw.
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Old 07-25-2015, 04:18 AM   #88
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The only times I've heard about problems bringing your own wood is crossing the Northern boarder. State parks in the US don't like taking wood from the park even if it's on the ground and dead. Guess it's all in where you want to camp. I'm in the group that wants my own little campfire every night. Never been to interested in a main fire ring with the Ranger but have had a lot of folks hail my little fire, come up out of the night and spend an hour or so becoming friends and swapping tales.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:24 AM   #89
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The only times I've heard about problems bringing your own wood is crossing the Northern boarder. State parks in the US don't like taking wood from the park even if it's on the ground and dead. Guess it's all in where you want to camp. I'm in the group that wants my own little campfire every night. Never been to interested in a main fire ring with the Ranger but have had a lot of folks hail my little fire, come up out of the night and spend an hour or so becoming friends and swapping tales.
Crossing the border either way has been my only experience with firewood not being allowed to be brought in anywhere. It is not uncommon for folks around here to take firewood camping with them. In most provincial and national parks campgrounds it is not allowed to take deadfall. There are a few backcountry lakes where driftwood, and deadfall is allowed though.

I definitely have met a bunch of folks in campgrounds, while either joining their campfire, or them joining ours. Always wonderful to meet these folks.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:35 AM   #90
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The whole campfire thing seems to differ in many ways.

It could be regional, as in places fraught with drought, or possibly places that don't have an abundance of wood. Or, like in most places I camp, firewood is abundant, and pretty much everyone enjoys having a fire.

Or it could be camping style, where I either boondock, or stay in campgrounds with no services, where sites are far apart, and as mentioned, wood is plenty. Others prefer, or require, being connected to the grid, and stay in campgrounds not conducive to fires.

Another factor is familiarity. In my case, I really have never seen much camping that did not include a campfire, thus the fact that for me "camping = campfires" is a valid equation. Heck, on our rec land, we have one building, a gathering place in bad weather, or for staying in during winter months, and it is headed with one of those big ol' wood cook stoves. For others, I imagine the idea of a campfire is just a novelty, not having frown up around them, or being in places they are allowed.

I just tried to do some math, adding up how many fires I have sat by in my life, form camping with my folks, camping with friends and Air Cadets as a teen, to exporing the backcountry extensively in my 20's (and still a couple times a year yet), to camping in our trailer in mostly forestry campgrounds or provincial/state/federal ones, to camping on our land. The number is actually less than I would have thought, but still, well over 1,200.

Like everything with each of our camping styles, there will be differences from one camper to the next. No different than how we eat, the tugs and trailers we have and how they are outfitted, where we like to camp, what beverages we prefer, etc. No wrong ways, just different ones.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:54 AM   #91
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Due to infestations there are a number of places/incidences where imported firewoods may not be allowed. Some I have run into in the past few years included:


International border crossings
Entering California from Oregon
Specific Parks, such as Orange County (CA) regional parks.


Most of the concern seems to be around wood boring critters and Dutch Elm disease being brought into contact with local trees.


But, as a thought, how funny it is that some will be very fastidious about recycling the junk mail to save trees, but will burn the same trees to have ambience when camping. LOL
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:26 AM   #92
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Fire bans in effect during our recent "mountain parks" vacation in Banff, Kootenay, and Waterton National Parks made it an easy decision for us to use our propane fire bowl. Worked great for us. I really like being able to just "turn it off" when you are done and want to go in for the night.

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Old 08-07-2015, 09:30 AM   #93
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The only times I've heard about problems bringing your own wood is crossing the Northern boarder. State parks in the US don't like taking wood from the park even if it's on the ground and dead. Guess it's all in where you want to camp. I'm in the group that wants my own little campfire every night. Never been to interested in a main fire ring with the Ranger but have had a lot of folks hail my little fire, come up out of the night and spend an hour or so becoming friends and swapping tales.
It probably depends on what part of the country or state you are in. NY, for example has a limit of 50 miles for moving untreated (kiln drying is an approved treatment) firewood. Other states have similar rules.

With the dry weather out in the northwest, some places are not allowing any fires, even charcoal grills. Propane stoves are OK; I suspect "Fire in a Can" would be OK as well. They don't want anything that could spread sparks or leave hot coals for obvious reasons.
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:46 AM   #94
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Anyone ever noticed in some popular state parks it looks like giraffes have grazed the area? All the branches are gone to a height about equal to how high a kid sitting on an adults shoulders can reach.

Some parks if you just get back a bit you can see it all through and around the edges of the camping area.

I assume this is people looking for kindling (so how does that green stuff work?) and failed to bring an axe or hatchet along to split the wood in the bundle they purchased. When one sees a few green sticks and one big chunk of store bought in a fire pit it is always a debate about offering an axe. Which will be more entertaining the fire start attempt or the rookie with the axe?

Sigh been a hard week I guess that last was sort of cranky. Oh well it is true.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:18 PM   #95
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I assume this is people looking for kindling...
Either that or marshmallow toasting sticks…

At a CA state park this year I witnessed a rowdy group of 20-somethings (clearly possessing more bottles in the cooler than marbles in the attic) trying to break off a largish branch higher up. Lacking tools, they managed to break it but left it dangling. I don't normally like to be a tattletale, but that one I reported to the camp hosts. They were right next to the bathroom we were using, and their language wasn't exactly family-friendly, either.

Didn't do much good, as next morning their picnic table was being trashed by sea gulls (from all the munchies they had left out) and the site was littered with empty alcohol bottles.

There. That's my own rant of the day!

On the other hand, a group of well-mannered (in spite of initial impressions to the contrary) German grad students camping across from us were clearly having some difficulty igniting the bundle of firewood they had purchased, and I was happy to share some kindling and help them get going.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:54 PM   #96
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At the San Mateo Creek State CG in SoCal, if the hosts need help they literally call in the Marines. Although it's outside the Camp Pendleton gates, it's on camp property and the USMC Military Police has jurisdiction. The word must be out, with one exception it was very quiet and even that bit of noise didn't last long. There is a big sign at the gate reminding campers that they are guests of the USMC.

In Green River State Park in ID (?) we saw two entire campsites get immediately cleared out by the Ranger for breaking off a single branch. And they left it spotless. It looked and sounded like the Ranger was a Retired Navy SEAL, one Bad A$$ Ranger. "You breaka my tree, I breaka your head"
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:09 PM   #97
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Yeah, I was kind of surprised the host didn't even contact a ranger as far as I know. In fact I only saw one ranger the whole time we were there, the one that took the report of a stolen bicycle (mine, but that's another story for which I bear part of the blame ).
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:38 AM   #98
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I'm with the 'gotta have a campfire' crowd and, until earlier this year, that meant a real one with well seasoned oak and hickory that I cut and split. It was started by lightard knots from pine stumps left from land we logged in the 50's. However, the National Forests here in NC recently enacted a certified kiln dried local wood only rule making that real expensive real fast (FWIW, I agree with the reg as the Woolly Adelgid has devastated the Hemlocks in Nantahala and Pisgah NF's).

Last year we tent camped on Portsmouth Island and one of our group had a Campfire-in-a-Can which got me thinking about propane units. With the NF rule, and after finding out the NPS would allow use of these in their Cape Hatteras NS campgrounds, we bit the bullet. I have to admit being pleasantly surprised. Campfire In A Can - Portable Propane Fire Pit for Backyard & Camping

Here at home, we have the same model now being installed at the NFS campgrounds in Pisgah and Nantahala. Its deep enough to contain most embers, has the diamond cutouts for visibility and draft and a swing around grate for cooking. The base is from the rims off the rear wheels of a mule drawn wagon I used as a kid (yeah, I'm old) https://www.jamestownadvanced.com/t/...campfire-rings


I still prefer a 'real' fire and the propane unit doesn't get much use at home as I have plenty of wood stored nearby under the daughter's (now grand daughter's) swing and playhouse.
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