Fires galore

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Suffolkrafter

Forager
Dec 25, 2019
236
200
Suffolk
This may turn into a bit of an odd post, but here goes.
Like many, I enjoy watching bushcraft YouTube videos, particularly when I'm not able to get out as much as I'd like. I've noticed that on many videos, the YouTubers are quite happy to light fires - sometimes contained in stoves but often on the ground - on land to which they clearly are not meant to, forestry commission and so on.
Most seem to do a good job of clearing up afterwards, although some seem to go a bit trigger happy with the saw and axe and burn a lot of deadfall.
When I'm out and about I just can't bring myself to do this, although often I would like to. This may be because I'm a stickler for rules - somehow it doesn't sit quite right with me. I don't like the idea of getting caught out, but I'm also very conscious of impact on others and the environment in all walks of life. The most I've done is burn a few twigs in a gasifier stove while feeling wracked with guilt.
You're all a fairly level headed and sensible bunch on the forum (unlike similar communities on FB). So what's your take on this? Am I overly paranoid? What's acceptable and not acceptable in your eyes when it comes to all this?
 

punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
1,156
1,008
yorks
Firstly, it's great to see someone who clearly has a respect for our outdoor spaces. I think that is something that is lacking in a lot of folk, especially those that dip into the outdoors less frequently.

It is my view that the natural world is not a museum piece. It doesn't stand still and sit there, like an inanimate object to be preserved. It is constantly moving, changing and evolving. I particularly think it is important to see that we are PART of it. We should be interacting with it, not fighting against it, even if you try to have as little impact as possible, you are still in a relationship with it to some degree.

Based on that, I think we shouldn't feel guilty about having the occasional fire, and to some degree, a few twigs used to make a brew in a stove has less impact than other heating arguably ofcourse.

You have correctly Identified that social media is a problem. People see other people having fires on YouTube etc, want to do it themselves, without the knowledge or experience of how to in a low impact and safe way. Coupled with an overpopulated country and it can have huge implications.
 

TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,138
1,008
Vantaa, Finland
A small controlled fire is no problem, any way the nutrients freed stay in the forest. Just leave the place as untouched as possible (as for any camp place). Of course I suspect we have a lot more twigs and fallen dry branches here but the amount needed for a meal and cup are not that much.
 

MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
270
126
44
Northampton
Looking back I am a little horrified by the bonfire's I have been guilty of in my younger days. I personally don't see too much of a problem with small controlled fires while out camping if the conditions are safe to do so, even in winter a 12 inch by 12 inch contained fire is enough to warm you if your sitting on the ground in front of it. There's no 1 size fits all solution to if it's safe to have a fire or not, experience kinda tells you if its safe to do so or not.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,629
5,010
Mid Wales
Land subjected to a flash fire (i.e. fire that passes over but not concentrated in one place) will recover within a season; sometimes in the same season. The land under a 'one-off' camp fire takes about two years to recover but even then the flora that grows up in the scar may not be the same as the original. The land under repeated fires may take many years to recover. I have carefully monitored this on my own land.

I do not light fires on the floor on private or 'public' land unless I have express permission. Even then I do everything I can to reduce the environmental impact . On my own land, the permanent camp fire is in a fire pit raised off the ground. The brash fires (for burning coppice rubbish) are never burnt in the same place twice - you'd have difficulty finding them the following season.

I am happy to light 'small twig' fires like the gasifier stoves but, even then, I stand them on a flat stone or earth to minimise scorching.

It is true, man is part of nature and we have a right to be in it - but, this island is occupied by over 67million people; we cannot be leaving fire scars everywhere we tread in the UK IMO.
 

Suffolkrafter

Forager
Dec 25, 2019
236
200
Suffolk
I think my issues are less to with safety but more around general respect I suppose (that's not to say safety isn't an issue of course). I think as Broch alludes to we are somewhat overpopulated here in the UK, particularly in England, and whatever you do will likely have an impact on others.
Having said that, I watched one of Paul Kirtley's videos today, in which he was dropped off by plane into some lake in the Canadian wildernesses with his Canoe. On his first camp on the shores of the lake he found widespread rubbish and numerous firescars. I found that quite horrifying.
Sounds like my thoughts are not far out of line with people who have replied on this thread.
 

billycoen

Nomad
Jan 26, 2021
328
207
north wales
Moderation is key,and most people will understand that,but the reality is that some folk for whatever reason choose to ignore the potential damage they may cause.The number of Poundland barbeques left lying around isn't helping" the leave no trace "ethos,which is a shame really.Because everyone should be able to enjoy the countryside.
 
This may turn into a bit of an odd post, but here goes.
Like many, I enjoy watching bushcraft YouTube videos, particularly when I'm not able to get out as much as I'd like. I've noticed that on many videos, the YouTubers are quite happy to light fires - sometimes contained in stoves but often on the ground - on land to which they clearly are not meant to, forestry commission and so on.
Most seem to do a good job of clearing up afterwards, although some seem to go a bit trigger happy with the saw and axe and burn a lot of deadfall.
When I'm out and about I just can't bring myself to do this, although often I would like to. This may be because I'm a stickler for rules - somehow it doesn't sit quite right with me. I don't like the idea of getting caught out, but I'm also very conscious of impact on others and the environment in all walks of life. The most I've done is burn a few twigs in a gasifier stove while feeling wracked with guilt.
You're all a fairly level headed and sensible bunch on the forum (unlike similar communities on FB). So what's your take on this? Am I overly paranoid? What's acceptable and not acceptable in your eyes when it comes to all this?
Obviously there are places where fires should not be lit, & there are also times, such as summer when there are fire danger warnings. This should be followed to the letter of the law.
Keith.
 

tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
4,439
484
52
Rossendale, Lancashire
Not wishing to cause scars I took to carrying a piece of aluminium foil folded over 4 times and crimped over at the edges to go under the gassifier stove or anything else I burn stuff on. I even use it under the folding flower / steamer/ hearth thing I got to use with a small portable tripod as the odd ember falls out usually. The foil has practically no weight, lasts many fires and when it's wrecked can go in the recycling. On the odd occasion when I’ve not burned everything to fine ash I've folded the paper around the charred bits and packed them out or saved them to start the next fire with.

Once, a long time ago now, I went out for a full day on the moors, overloaded with my shiny new Peak 1 Stove a d two dehydrated meals and 3 full 58 pat bottles. It was during a heat wave and after a couple of hours saw a fresh poster announcing all fires and smoking was prohibited within the National Park, this I could have found out before I set off if I'd been switched on. The second thing I discovered was that no matter how long you let them soak 1990s dehydrated food does not rehydrate, at all. The bit I forced down was like eating the contents of a snowstorm made from bark chippings. So since then I've been careful to pick food that I could prepare/ eat under any likely fire conditions I could come across.

Once I would think nothing of cutting whatever wood I needed for fires or making shelters. These days I have given far more thought than is probably sane to how to avoid that. Which is probably why my kit is a weird mix of the ultralight ( which allows e to carry more items, with out the total load going up ) and extra kit, like the ally tripod and steel folding hearth. Anyroad there's always enough hanging dead twigs for my purposes where I play and if not I've bags of bone dry wood pellets for the gasifier.

ATB

Tom
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,560
2,281
McBride, BC
Every good camp site in my district has been used for decades. Not hard to figure out the tent placement relative to fire smoke and sparks.
The fire placements are easily defined by rings and layers of rock Over the years, some are quite big and quite elaborate with places for pot, pans, etc.

The advantages that we have are several.

We have lots of rock.
The fire rings of rock tend to define the campsite without idiots building fires all over the area. They tend to direct the fire-making activity. There's a reason why the fire ring is placed where it is.
There have been camp fires here for so long that finding dead wood has become a bit of a chase. Hence modern fires are perhaps not as big (for heat and light) as they once were.

Maybe overnight isn't much of a challenge but a 2-week hunting camp for 6 families uses a lot of wood. Most groups have several quads and chainsaws so long rides for wood are no big deal.

The "Leave No Trace" is a noble concept. I'll run a petrol Coleman any time and any where I need to, instead of a sooty camp fire. On days of total fire ban, I'll keep to the kitchen in my house.
 

slowworm

Full Member
May 8, 2008
1,383
383
Devon
I've spent some time there and frankly I would say it's a whole other level of risk compared to the UK.
But care still needs to be taken and not just during summer. The last few years we've had very dry springs down here and as my woodland has plenty of long grass, gorse and pine I get a bit concerned when people have bonfires nearby, especially as the bushes are full of nesting birds at that time of year.
 
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Laurentius

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 13, 2009
2,090
353
Knowhere
There are fires, and there are contained fires, I do not light fires where they are not welcome, but I do not consider using something like a small stove, whether wood burning or a trangia in that capacity. I use a fibreglass mat to ensure that there is no damage to the ground. On my own bit of ground I have built a fireplace so no problem there and I am sure as hell not going to burn my own wood down.
 
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Suffolkrafter

Forager
Dec 25, 2019
236
200
Suffolk
For my own garden I've not figured out a space for a permanent fire pit. I just use a cheap fold out fire pit, sort of four legs with a mesh top. Works a treat and the kids enjoy it too.
 
This may turn into a bit of an odd post, but here goes.
Like many, I enjoy watching bushcraft YouTube videos, particularly when I'm not able to get out as much as I'd like. I've noticed that on many videos, the YouTubers are quite happy to light fires - sometimes contained in stoves but often on the ground - on land to which they clearly are not meant to, forestry commission and so on.
Most seem to do a good job of clearing up afterwards, although some seem to go a bit trigger happy with the saw and axe and burn a lot of deadfall.
When I'm out and about I just can't bring myself to do this, although often I would like to. This may be because I'm a stickler for rules - somehow it doesn't sit quite right with me. I don't like the idea of getting caught out, but I'm also very conscious of impact on others and the environment in all walks of life. The most I've done is burn a few twigs in a gasifier stove while feeling wracked with guilt.
You're all a fairly level headed and sensible bunch on the forum (unlike similar communities on FB). So what's your take on this? Am I overly paranoid? What's acceptable and not acceptable in your eyes when it comes to all this?
Monkey see, monkey do.

It is embarrassing and irritable to see fire idiots building and maintaining open fires in areas of national beauty with no regard to the "Leave no trace" ethos. Either the culprits are just following the herd by seeing others 'having fires' and emulating that for social media 'likes' or they're just plain idiots!

I wanted to ask a question about good open fire procedure but the responses here already seem to disregard any LNT ethos. Bushcraft involves fires, yes. But, Bushcraft involves craft. You DO NOT destroy in any way the place which you desire or require to be. Fire pit scars are unacceptable. Culprits are vandals. Any 7 year old can light a fire. Surely the 'craft' element of this group can venture further than the striking a match and burning stuff? I did that at 7 too, but grew up!

I am dismayed by the amount of open fires illustrated in photographs on social media sites by expectant self centred individuals who believe it to be their god given right to live like vandalistic neanderthals at the expense of the landscape they visit. They are nothing but vandals, unwanted visitors with small brains and should stay in their central heated 'caves' and be restricted access to the beauty they acclaim to be part of as well as being restricted to any combustible materials.

Open fires, leaving scars, frankly is disgusting.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,629
5,010
Mid Wales
I wanted to ask a question about good open fire procedure but the responses here already seem to disregard any LNT ethos.

I'm having a little difficulty seeing where you get that impression from TBH. Everyone I have physically met from this forum has had the greatest regard for aiming towards LNT. Admittedly, once or twice, someone has voiced that it's impossible but that's no excuse for not trying. I've just re-read every post on this thread and cannot find anybody voicing an opinion opposed to LNT.
 
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Herman30

Settler
Aug 30, 2015
976
654
55
Finland
I'm having a little difficulty seeing where you get that impression from TBH. Everyone I have physically met from this forum has had the greatest regard for aiming towards LNT.
I get the impession that CaptainCo want to forbid open fires everywhere.
 
I'm having a little difficulty seeing where you get that impression from TBH. Everyone I have physically met from this forum has had the greatest regard for aiming towards LNT. Admittedly, once or twice, someone has voiced that it's impossible but that's no excuse for not trying. I've just re-read every post on this thread and cannot find anybody voicing an opinion opposed to LNT.
My impression wasn't from this group, but 'trying' to Leave No Trace does seem rather incongruous.

I initially wanted to ask a question specifically of this group since if anybody the members here, UK specific, would seem to have a better understanding of LNT and specifically the UK rules regarding fires.

I wasn't citing this group as a bunch of fire starters, instead I was intending to ask about the 'proper' techniques members used here in order to ensure they LNT.

I came across this thread and it has members stating:
" we shouldn't feel guilty about having the occasional fire"
" don't see too much of a problem with small controlled fires while out camping"
So were they intentionally designed to LNT or just ground fires?

It takes considerable effort to ensure that fires LNT. What efforts do members here go to in order to ensure that?
 

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