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Fire safety in a peaty forest area.

Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by Dandus, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Dandus

    Dandus Member

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    I've been camping in a certain forrest a couple of times now. The ground is peat soil so I haven't had a fire. If I dig a hole would it be a safe method to have a fire? It's been raining recently so the ground has been damp. I'm not sure how flammable it really is. I dug down about a foot. The soil looked very sandy. Is this still flammable stuff? Just like fine peat?
    I'm thinking myself that it might just be too dangerous but I'd like to hear your expert opinions and experiences.
    Thanks
     
  2. Leshy

    Leshy Full Member

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    Not an expert, but I'll give my opinion.

    Definitely don't dig a hole and have a fire on a peat soil location.
    The reason you're not to have a fire on peat is because under the fire , the soil will be smouldering and possibly spread .
    Digging a hole will not avoid that.
    Raised off the floor the fire will cause no problem anywhere.
    Not even an ugly fire scar.

    Make a stove or find a big bolder .
    Leave no trace
     
    #2 Leshy, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  3. Dogoak

    Dogoak Full Member

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    Definately not wise on peaty soil. Unfortunately there's been a few incidents round here recently of underground fires in the peaty soil. Ive seen one last about 3 months!
     
  4. Hibrion

    Hibrion Maker

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    As said, digging a hole is not a good idea - if the peat catches it can smoulder underground and a fire can pop up miles away from you. We have many gorse fires in the Wicklow mountains in Ireland every because of this.

    A folding stove that allows you to raise the fire off the ground would be the best option for you. You'll probably be limiting yourself to small cooking fires with one, but at least it's a fire.
     
  5. greg.g

    greg.g Full Member

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    A folding Barbie can be used as a fire box/pit.
    I bought a stainless steel jobby from Aldi about a year ago. I use it on campsites where open fires are not allowed.
     
  6. C_Claycomb

    Mod

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    At the Moot they have very sandy soil, heck, go a few hundred metres away and it's full on Sahara style dunes, but the camp has been colonised by Scots Pine, leaving the soil a mix of sand and rotted tree matter. Fires on the ground there can burn deeply into the ground. It isn't peat, but it the fires clearly consume all the bio matter while burning downwards.

    Stoves or raised fire bowls work best, although the temperature at ground under some of those bowls can get high enough to scorch. A simple sheet of aluminium foil as a heat reflector shield cures that, if its a problem. Fires on boulders are not "no-trace". Without a stove or something to raise the fire, about all you can do is disguise the fact you had a fire. For example, turning any scorched rocks so the scorch faces the ground.
     
  7. Dandus

    Dandus Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I'll look at getting a folding stove. I have a portable BBQ but that's quite big to carry. Thanks.
     
  8. Sundowner

    Sundowner Forager

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    I used to have an Aldi "briefcase " style barbie and yes it's a good one but having to carry it around on a longer walk. Nope!!
    I'm really wanting to have a fire where I usually go around here but it's party soil. All I have now is a cheapo wood gas stove but it can't replace a fire. Isn't there a market niche for a fire mat?
     
  9. Janne

    Janne Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    You can always build up a barrier against the peaty ground using lots of rocks and stones, plus do the fire of correct size = small. A fire larger than 15 cm across is unnecessarily large.

    After you cooked your meal/liquid, extinguish it.
     
  10. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    I live in the Boreal Forest Biome. What looks like soil under the conifer canopy is about 15 - 30 cm dead conifer needles
    and they contain a lot of conifer resin = burn hot and fast.
    If we can't clear an area down to mineral, if we can't find a generous amount of stone for a base,
    building a campfire is not done. We just don't.
    It's easier to move camp and find a gravel bar on a small river.
    Drift wood to burn, mineral base and no shortage of water to put it out.
     

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