Camping with a fire ban in place

I’ve never prayed for rain so hard in my life. I’m headed off to Algonquin park mid next week for a one week back country canoe camping trip. A 24/7 full fire ban is currently in effect. I check the weather forecast for the area for next week, and very little rain. Food isn’t the problem, bringing dehydrated meals.

Camping without a campfire just seems like sitting in the dark to me, swatting away mosquitos. Real bummer.

Any dopers ever camp with a fire ban in place ? What did ya do ? How was it ?

I’ve done it, it’s not ideal, but you’ll suddenly be more interested in stars, so you won’t notice!

I think there is rain in the forecast, for that region, isn’t there?

I’ll pray to the rain Gods for you anyway!

Yeah, I already enjoy stargazing out there. Just more of that, which is good. Not having to collect and process firewood is another good thing.

30 % chance of rain for monday, but that’s about it. Will be on the water by next Thursday.

Thanks for the prayers !

I never build a campfire, so all camping to me is like this. Mosquitoes are a problem, but bring lots of DEET and maybe a bug net. Star gazing is fun, you can read easily with a headlamp, can someone bring a guitar?

We do all the time, not really a problem. It is harder when backpacking, but still enjoyable.

I’ve got a good story for you. We were in a desert mountain forest in the Southwest. The drought was so bad at the time half the forest was off limits (we had to stay north of Forest road X or some such). We are car camping somewhere on a windy night in a grassy area. My friend had brought a gallon zip lock bag of matches. Not just matches…strike anywhere matches…and btw those were transported in the cargo hold of an airplane. WTF? was he thinking.

Anyhow, there is a total fire ban. Not even camp stoves or lanterns are allowed. We are setting up camp the best we can and he sets the large bag of matches on top of the car. Remember that wind? Well, it blows the bag off the top of the car. Remember the strike anywhere part? Well, guess what? At least one of them was “strike anywhere”.

The resulting chain reaction/nuclear fireball was quite impressive. And it caught the local high and very dry grass on fire. And remember the wind yet again? We managed to stomp it out but oh gawd I about stroked out stomping it out and thinking about the legal/financial repercussions of setting a national forest on fire (and we had permits so they would have had a damn good idea of who caused this).

Good times…

That’s why we alwaqys carry multiple fire extinguishers when car-camping in the desert. I have a tendency to set bushes on fire while attempting to teach the children how to multi-stage bottle rockets.

I"m happy to camp without a fire- in fact I actually hate camping with a campfire. It just creates a time-waste, a danger not only to the forest but also to people around the fire, and a horrible smell for the whole trip and upon return to civilization. Additionally, seeing as mosquitoes are attracted by CO2, the campfire attracts them.

I’d encourage you to enjoy the dark. the stars are awesome but so are the trees and the sounds and just talking to your fellow campers.

You know what they call people who sleep outside without a fire?


It ain’t camping without a fucking fire!

Now excuse me while I retreat to my 39’ D Pusher with triple slide-outs, washer/dryer, granite counters, glove-leather sofa/chairs, wine celler (so to speak), dish TV, king-sized bed (walk-a-round) and sound that makes *The Decemberists *have wet-dreams.

In fairness, one of the slide-outs is a fireplace. :stuck_out_tongue:

Count me in as one of the people who dislike campfires when backpacking. It’s a huge time sink, the gear for it is a waste of space, it’s disturbing to the environment and ecosystem, and extremely messy to clean up (you are cleaning it up, right?). Just enjoy the stars and the ambient sounds.

Absolutely. You also tend to see and hear more animals if the fire isn’t around.

Boundary waters under a fire ban, late May.

Paddled in under great weather, actually kind of warm for that part of the year. Temps near 80. Fire that night would have been nice, be we lived without.

That night, storms move through and temps drop significantly.

Next day, rainy, windy, cold - temps in the low 40s. Wanted a fire just to stay warm. Stayed in the tent much of the day, napped some, played cards. Kinda sucked.

That night, temps in the high 20s - inside the tent.

Next AM, snow on the ground/tent. Thought about heading back a day early but we were wind-bound. Too windy to take canoes on the lake safely.

Wind, rain/snow mix all day. To stay warm, we cut firewood.

Day 4 - day we planned on leaving anyway, weather broke - full sun by noon. Temps back in the 70s by the time we got back to civilization.

Had the weather been better, no fire wouldn’t have been much of a problem.

Buck up, man! You can still have coffee or tea in the morning. I know fires are fun to play with and build, but if you have a tech-geek bent you can have a different experience by just using a small stove – you can even build your own alcohol stove out of a beer/soda can in about 0.5 hours. Pauca intelligenti – don’t forget to improvise a wind screen maybe out aluminum foil and some chicken wire or coat hangers – you’ll want that.

Leave No Trace is good too, right? Good karma.

Myself, I see the stars great just from my deck at home. I really got to have a camp fire.

Um… What gear? A lighter, and maybe a small saw or an axe if your car camping.

I haven’t camped in years. Mostly I did it out of a 4x4. And while spots where not regulated where I went, I would just use the fire ring of a previous camper. Often that camper was myself. Don’t see the big deal at all as long as you’re cautious.

Besides the wildfire danger that prompted this thread, popular areas will have all available firewood stripped out in any reasonable walking distance. Live trees will be cut, dead trees will be taken removing important habitat. There just isn’t enough easily accessible firewood in many places to support constant fire use.

In remote places it may not be a problem, but in areas that get repeated use and have slow growing seasons the impact is dramatic and long lasting.

Besides, I like stars.

:shrug: Never have had a problem finding wood. And controled cautious burning of dead wood can reduce the fire danger. Of course you should never do when the fire danger is currently high.


Uh - no. Unless your “controlled cautious burning” is of an entire area’s undergrowth, that’s completely not true. If you’re happy to watch the stars from your deck, then why not be happy with a campfire from your deck? Seriously - let’s all try to reduce our impact and Leave No Trace.

It really depends on where you camp. In the popular camping areas in NH and VT, all available wood has been stripped for 1/4 to 1/2 mile. At Snowmass Lake in CO the camping area looked like a host of locust had denuded the entire area. Again, if you’re in areas that don’t get much traffic, a fire doesn’t have the same impact. But by definition, the popular camping destinations aren’t like that.

I freely admit that the impact of removing dead wood by campers has a very small impact in reducing fire danger, but there is an impact. But it is probably out weighed by the chance to start a forest fire.

In any case, I’ve always been very careful, and have never had any problems. Camping with out a fire just wouldn’t be fun for me.

And I do have ‘camp’ fires on my property.

You are aware campfires are fueled by trees, right? Those big things growing (and dying) all around the campsite. Campfires are a renewable resource. You cause more environmental damage driving to your remote campsite than burning a small fire for a couple of days.

If you want everyone to leave no trace, parks should prevent humans from entering and camping.