Leaving campfires unattended (AKA ticking off Smokey the Bear)

Discussion in 'Campground Etiquette' started by TravelingAggie, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hell, i drive there just to use it! Lol.
     
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  2. Maggi Bailey

    Maggi Bailey New Member

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    My husband laughs at me because I have a weird need to make sure every piece of wood burns down to complete ash. I spend the whole evening rearranging and breaking up wood so by the time we go to bed their are no pieces bigger than my fist. Then we douse it cause we both come from fire crazy states.
     
  3. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    When I use the charcoal chimney, I burn all those end pieces that everyone leaves.
     
  4. jeepster04

    jeepster04 Active Member

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    My camping trip mostly revolves around a good fire and just hanging out around it... I would be terribly disappointed with a propane fire....

    When I was a kid we would take stoker coal and burn it. It was no problem to burn pop cans.
     
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  5. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    Leaving a campfire unattended caused a fire resulting in a newly renovated campground getting closed. [{:)] [:(!]
     
  6. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    My question is what benefit is there to leaving an unintended fire going? It seems anyone can see the potential problems with leaving one unattended. I've yet to hear a reason why it's better to leave fires going.
     
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  7. banjorules

    banjorules Active Member

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    We were packing up one time and were rushed to completion when the firetrucks came by. They literally stopped at our campsite to ask us where the fire was. Up til then we did not know about it. It was already several acres in size and thankfully, burning up the hill away from us. Never leave your campsite with a fire burning.
     
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  8. P8ntballer

    P8ntballer New Member

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    Propane fire pits are a godsend when the fire bans get instituted!
    That being said I have been told to put it out on multiple occasions by vff’s who patrol the county’s campgrounds. I now bring a hard copy of the fire code regulations outlining that these are certified gas appliances in the same category as a Coleman stove and not a fire as defined by the fire code.
    One stuck to his guns and threatened to have me fined and arrested for noncompliance until he had the unfamiliar fire code recited to him chapter and verse and was told to go ahead and do his duty. Now a simple “here read this” as he gets handed the appropriate literature seems to satisfy the newby ff’s who invariably get tasked with enforcing these bans.
     
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  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    Can't tell you how many times I see this. Watched one guy start a fire make breakfast and proceeded to pack camp and leave without even bothering to even move the logs away from each other much less put it out before he left. I went over and poured the little water I had to try and put it out. Unfortunately I didn't have enough water to put it out completely. I was at a small national park so no water except for what you bring.
    For me, I personally watch the fire burn completely out before I even go to bed, I'm burning every lost dollar out of those logs. at $10 for 7 sticks of wood at the NP. I'm making it count. The coals are not even glowing when I feel it's safe to go to bed, although don't use much water I do use a little. Yeah if a limb from a tree was to fall in the fire pit it may start a fire as some coals may still be warm enough, but I would be out the door so fast if that happened. I never start a fire the day I leave and will always put my hand near the fire pit to ensure its completely cold before I leave camp at all.
     
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    There is no benefit. It's just that folks refuse to recognize that THEIR fire is a danger. Between, "I'll just be gone for a couple minutes" to "it's just embers" to not thinking at all, people walk away from their fire believing it will be just fine.
     
  11. Camperboy#13

    Camperboy#13 New Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Being a Firefighter there are few things that IRK me more than people leaving a fire of any sorts unattended. I like to believe that it is just plain Ignorant Stupidity, but??? I have attended more fire that "took off" after they people left the site of their fire. My neighbors burned their garage down that nearly caught their 1800's house on fire too. This was a fire that was not Completely Extinguished when they decided to go inside for the night. Rekindle next am
    :(
     
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  12. ReallDeall70

    ReallDeall70 New Member

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    Out here in California that is a HUGE NO NO! I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate.
     
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  13. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 New Member

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    There is no defensible excuse for ever leaving a fire unattended.

    Here are several dozen reasons no one should ever walk away from a campfire that isn't COMPLETELY out:

    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  14. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    If the fire is not dowsed with water , the coals are still hot the next morning and it is easier to make a fire.
    I let the fire burn down and then pour some water on the fire. It will still have hot coals and smolder all night.
     
  15. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    That is something that is not done out west. Anything that makes it "easier to make a fire" means a greater risk of a fire starting unintentionally.

    I remember a fire that started because a homeowner had cleaned out their fireplace and placed the ashes in a plastic bag in a plastic garbage can. There were still some hot embers in the ash - they burned through the bag and started a fire that lept from the garbage to the house.
     
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  16. A-Ranger12

    A-Ranger12 Active Member

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    Nobody bothers putting out a fire here. The thinking is that as long as it's contained inside the fire ring, it's not going to catch anything else on fire, so let it burn down. It’s generally fairly wet here, with lots of dew overnight, so that logic generally holds.

    Interesting to see the various responses, especially from more fire prone areas.
     
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  17. steven kroll

    steven kroll New Member

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    I enjoyed reading the comments from throughout the years on here...

    I'm 46, live in colorado, and camp as much as I can. The Cameron Peak fire has burned all but 1 of my frequented camp spot and 4wd trails. the last one is about 2 miles from the fires edge near pennock pass, that my wife and I have named Full Moon Meadow.

    Our M.O. is to let it die down before bed, usually after putting a "louie-lunker" as my dad called them on hours before to get a nice bed of coals. Been doing this for my 40 years of camping, and have never had anything other than some coals way down in to start the fire in the morning.

    Now I can't say i don't check on it if the wind kicks up or something... My personal logic is that it is going to do the same thing it does while i am sitting next to it, and as long as there's nothing that's going to fall out and it's ringed well it'll be fine.

    I always have water and a shovel available quickly just in case.

    One last thought I've had many times, is to require people to get licensed to have a fire. Go through a 1/2 day class about safe fires.

    I also believe that nature starts the vast majority of fires, like she has since the dawn of time. it's a natural process. Lodgepole pines nearly require a fire to propagate. I feel having a home or cabin in the woods is similar to having one on the gulf coast... your going to have hurricanes, and you're going to have fires. Cali's going to have earthquakes, and the NW is going to have Volcanoes.

    respectfully,
    sKroll
    Colorado
     
  18. steven kroll

    steven kroll New Member

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    That's user error, not the fire; no?
     
  19. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    The point is even if you think it's completely out, there may be embers deep down. One mistake out here and that can be a massive wildfire.
     
  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    https://www.nps.gov/articles/wildfire-causes-and-evaluation.htm

    Nearly 85 percent* of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, equipment use and malfunctions, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson.
     
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