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Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Are campfires still needed?

Yes, they are an essential part of camping or backpacking.
No, they just destroy the habitats of countless creatures.
Yes, but on in the winter.
No votes
Total votes : 5


Postby dustin.brace » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:28 pm

I have been thinking... are campfires really needed any more? With the new lightweight campstoves/backpacking stoves, are camp fires anything more than reminiscing? This is definitly not to step on anyones toes, but I just wondered. I was reading a book, The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter by Colin Tudge, and he mentions that when you burn a tree, it releases all of the carbon that it has taken out of the environment. Anyone have any thoughts?

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Re: Campfires

Postby dan » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:49 pm

Well, the trees are going to burn sooner or later, so it's more of a mater of when, not if. And if fires are suppressed, you'll just have a gigantic file once or twice a century, instead of lots of small fires.

That said, I do have a gripe against excessive campfires. In front-country campgrounds, people often gather green wood, which is very smokey. They burn it whether it's hot or not. I was camping in Zion once, when it was in the 80s and people were building campfires during the day in the heat. Campfires are nice to look at and a lot better than television, but it's a little too much to have it 24/7 no matter how hot it is at the campground.

Backpacking, few people use campfires for cooking--I can't remember the last time I've seen that. I still build campfires occasionally, but tend to keep my campfires small, and use existing campfire rings.
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Postby Grzldvt » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:25 pm

I have stopped doing camp fires. I use a small propane/butane lantern and it accomplishes the same thing IMO. After spending a ton of time cleaning up fire rings in off the wall places in the park, it convinced me to stop having them.
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Postby mozierfamily » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:37 pm

There's something about campfires that lots of folks enjoy on a cool evening in the mountains. I agree it is important to keep it clean for the next people coming through and I'm also glad that campfires are banned in certain sensitive environments. I have to say, though, that when we were in Sequoia last September and an early winter storm hit us with 28 degree weather and some snow, we were glad to have some nice hot wood that allowed us to hang out around the fire versus shivering or taking cover in the tents.
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Postby AZhiker » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:07 pm

I do like a good fire on a cold night but as Dan brought up people tend to over do it I was in Kings canyon in the 70s and it was like a forest fire there were so many fires going. When Im out with my pack I very rarly have a fire I use my camp stove to cook and thats all I realy need.
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