How to Minimize Campfire Impacts

How to Minimize Campfire ImpactsA camp fire is a source of heat, cooking and comfort. Camp fires may also have an enormous impact on an area. Careless site preparation, fire building and wood gathering have damaged many areas, some of which will carry the scars for decades. With some common sense, a little know how and awareness, there is no need for beautiful areas to be damaged or destroyed due to campfires.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Stove
  • Fire pan
  • Plastic trash bag
  • Small trowel
 
Step 1
Cook with a fuel stove when possible. This eliminates the need to burn wood and impact the environment. Fuel stoves are available in many styles and sizes for backpacking and hiking.
Step 2
Use a fire pan in which to build a campfire. The pan is typically an aluminum or other metal pan which is of sufficient size to hold a fire and the associated wood and ash. When finished with the fire, the ash may be deeply buried and the pan packed out.
Step 3
Use an existing campfire with a metal fire ring. The fire ring is usually mounted on the ground and is several inches high. Before leaving the area, make sure all unused firewood is scattered and the ash is buried deeply. Clean the area as well as possible.
Step 4
Construct a mound fire when there has been no campfire built before. Spread a tarp and place four to five inches of soil in a large circle on the tarp. Make sure that the soil is free from leaves and sticks. Build the fire on the dirt mound. When finished, bury the entire mound.
Step 5
Build only the size fire that is needed and keep fires as small as possible. This will lessen the impact on the environment, burn less wood and produce less ash to be buried.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Burn all wood completely and do not leave partially burned sticks or logs lying around. Use only fallen and lying wood for fires. Do not cut anything if possible. Scatter or bury all ash. Avoid using rocks to form a ring, especially in areas with no campfire use before. The new fire will burn the top layer of the ground and will permanently scar rocks.
 
Burn all wood completely and do not leave partially burned sticks or logs lying around.
 
Use only fallen and lying wood for fires. Do not cut anything if possible.
 
Scatter or bury all ash.
 
Avoid using rocks to form a ring, especially in areas with no campfire use before. The new fire will burn the top layer of the ground and will permanently scar rocks.
 
Any time fire is used for cooking or other purposes make sure to avoid burns and keep clothing away from flames.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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