View Full Version : To build a fire
Before my thru-hike I envisioned building a fire every night during my journey. It didn't quite work out that way however. I was usually too tired to gather wood and tend a fire. I built most of my fires in New England to ward off the biting insects.
If you plan on building fires, heres a suggestion from someone who lives near the trail. Please don't be building any new fire rings. Every year maintainers, trail runners, and locals like myself have to destroy illegal fire pits built on or next to the trail. They leave ugly scars and encourage overuse of areas.
Rememebr your leave-no-trace skills. That includes the remains of any fire that you might be inclined to build.
I rarely make a campfire anymore. I think the last one I built was in 2000 when the nights were in the single digits on the Pinhoti. They aren't woth the hassle most of the time.
One of the basic principles of Leave No Trace is minimize fire impacts. So, if you do have a fire, then keep it small. But preferably, don't have a fire at all.
For those of you that do not know how to build a leave no trace fire here is a great way to do it.
Away from the trail in your camp take your trowel and dig in at an agle in a circle about 12" in dia. and gently remove the top layer from the circle all in one piece ( Keep this to the side! You'll need it again) then you will have a great circle to build your small fire.DO NOT LINE IT WITH ROCKS. You will be able to burn a small cooking fire or fire for warmth.
The next morning Clean up is fast and simple make sure your core is cold then, take your core and ashes and scatter them around the area, then take your round sod top and place it back on where you had the fire and re-dispute the leaves this will make it look like you were never there and you have camped and left no trace.
I learned this in a survival skills class in college and have done it probably 50 times with no problem. When you leave your site no one can tell you were even there.
This well help the maintainers and volunteers who go out and break up fire rings that others make. Fire rings with rocks scar the rocks for life!
or even better along the At build your fire in a fire ring that is already existing..near a shelter... I do like a fire and when I'm coming into a shelter area I pick up a couple sticks a half mile out and carry them into camp...
Good idea Steve! I never have thought about picking up some dry tender before I get in camp since Dry dead firewood is so scarce around the shelters
Leave No trace...I use th e HARM REDUCTIION method...no campfire...bah..I like a campfire and it is a integral part of my "wilderness experience'...If everyone would bring in a couple sticks from a half mile or so out then there would be enough wood to have a small fire in the evening without "picking bare" the shelter site... helps to minimize the impact
Somebody needs to tell the scouts that!