Backcountry Campfires

Crackling wood, dancing flames, flickering light – there is no denying the innate appeal of a campfire. But with lightweight, efficient and reliable backcountry stoves doing most of the cooking these days, having a campfire in the backcountry is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity.

Classic campfire on a paddling trip. (Photo: Megan Kopp)

We rarely have fires when backpacking, but on paddling trips with friends, a campfire is often a gathering point for supper, stories and s’mores. Nice to know it is possible to have a fire and still leave no trace.

Minimum Impact Campfires

  • Use existing fire rings or a fire pan. Multiple firepits are the pits.
  • Burn only small pieces of downed deadwood or driftwood, gathered over a wide area.
  • Even if wood is provided in a backcountry campground, keep fires small.
  • Burn wood to ash.
  • Make sure your fire is completely out before leaving.
  • Be sure to pack out any campfire litter.
  • Scatter collected wood to keep area looking natural.
  • Don’t have a fire in alpine or desert areas where wood sources are extremely limited.
  • Never ignore posted fire bans – they save forests!

Do you have fires in the backcountry?

© 2011

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