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#1 VetRVer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:30 PM

Assuming a person knows how to properly set up and manage a campfire, what is the general consensus regarding using them while boondocking?

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#2 Happy Prospector

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:45 PM

I have one all the time, if not in a Fire Restriction Area or if it is real windy out. Go for it.

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#3 2gypsies

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:07 PM

Campfires are great when boondocking and anywhere else....however, we have come across some real disasters - the majority in Quartzsite. Folks are allowed to drop their jacks any place they choose to set up camp, which is great, we have done the same. Naturally, everyone chooses their favorite spot willy/nilly and by doing this the remains of past campfire pits are scattered all over the desert. In the remains we find tons of nails - from burning wood pallets, glass, aluminum cans and cigarette butts. To make things worse when driving into the desert it's hard to avoid the scattered campfire areas and one can find yourself driving right through this trash.

I would like to recommend good campfire practices of dismantling the pit when you leave and take all your trash with you. We have volunteered many years in public parks and some of the fire pits in campgrounds are the same way - full of garbage and trash when folks move on. Guess what one of our jobs was? Right. Cleaning out the fire pits.

But I guess the #1 responsibility you have is to make sure the fire is dead out. That's how many forest fires start. We, ourselves, were the ones to call 911 while in the Jemez Springs forest campground in New Mexico last May. It happened after Memorial weekend, the day everyone moves out. A camper did not put out his fire and a spark flew onto nearby pine needles and with the strong wind, quickly moved through the campground. Everyone was evacuated and when searching the news later we saw that it took 6 hours to put out that minor fire and the whole area was closed down for weeks because of high fire warnings and the possibility of careless campers. Please do your part and enjoy that campfire and take care of it as you should. Thanks!

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#4 Rif

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:34 PM

It totally depends on where we are and what the conditions are. As a general rule we do not have campfires. Campfires are for campers. We are RV'ers. Nonetheless, there are times, especially when the grand kids are visiting, when it just feels right. We sit around talking, roasting marshmallows, eating smores and making wonderful memories. Of course, then I wonder what I was thinking when the wind shifts and smokes up the RV, and later that evening when going inside and smelling the smoke in my clothes. Ahhh, the joys of campfires.
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#5 RV

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:52 PM

I have lots of old growth oaks on my land and a burn pile spot that I love to make into bonfires for my SH and the grandkids or just me if the need arises. Every time I mow I have several acres littered with old self pruned small limbs and twigs. I pile them up until I have enough for a fire and then let 'er rip! And I am not a camper. When I was RVing full time we did campfires whenever we could. But we never did BLM or the Q or slabs or burning man. I don't like the crush or mess either. My fires were usually made in designated rings when we were on the road.

Edited by RV, 26 April 2012 - 09:54 PM.

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#6 Bill B

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 05:31 AM

Campfires - by all means WHEN appropriate - TRASH BEHIND - String them up by the short hairs.

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#7 LindaH

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 07:55 AM

We are not campfire people, so don't carry wood or make campfires. I don't mind if other people do as long as the smoke doesn't drift into our rig. I really get annoyed if, on a hot day, we have to close all of our windows because of drifting campfire smoke.

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#8 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:30 PM

As long as you aren't ruining the day of your neighbors I have no campfire issues.

In the Quartzite desert we learned to carry a big magnet and walk the route we were going to drive using it like a mine-detector. You do not want to hear what the tire guy will tell you when you have a half dozen punctures!

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#9 bryanl

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:44 AM

re: "In the Quartzite desert we learned to carry a big magnet and walk the route we were going to drive using it like a mine-detector."

good idea. I have one of those intended for picking up nails from a roofing job and I'll have to add it to the rig equipment. It would have been handy out at Pyramid Lake this weekend. That place has the same problem as Quartzite with campfire rings all over the beach and a whole lot of trash that is hazardous to tires.
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#10 mockturtle

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 02:56 PM

While I am not anti-campfire, there are a couple of situations that bother me:
1. Campfires not out. Some people think a fire is out just because they douse it with water or throw some dirt or sand on it. Guess again! You literally need to feel the embers to make sure they're no longer hot after stirring them well. We were camped on the beach in OR one time when our neighbors went to bed after 'putting out' their campfire. Predictably, the wind came up, blew the sand off the embers and rekindled the fire. It was blowing hot embers right under our motorhome. I was outside at 2:00 AM extinguishing their fire. They were oblivious.

2. People who burn their trash--namely, beer cans. They don't burn but leave a mess for the next person to clean up. Even paper is not a good idea, as you can't contain the blowing debris. Stick to wood. Please.

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#11 richfaa

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:09 PM

Camp fires are part of Camping and we are campers even if we have a big ole 5th wheel. We have campfires when and where we can and it is legal. There is just nothing like a buch of campers around a campfire no matter what kind of Rv they are in.

Agree about "Q" it is a trash heap.
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#12 Bob Cochran

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:21 PM

I cannot argue with any of the above and I like a good campfire when appropriate and safe. I abide with the "NO TRASH LEFT BEHIND". :P I am one of those who everyplace I camp I go around with a trash bag picking up everyone else trash not just mine so it is always better for me having been there and for others and myself next time. A shovel, axe and plenty of water to make sure the campfire is completely out. By that I mean pour water in the spot, stir around until it is cold to the touch. Why the axe? For clearing an area along with shovel around the campfire, and reducing the size of the firewood. I want a campfire not a raging bonfire which in most cases is not appropriate in most but not all situations and maybe hard to control.:)

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#13 Bob Cochran

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:26 PM

I cannot argue with any of the above and I like a good campfire when appropriate and safe. I abide with the "NO TRASH LEFT BEHIND". :P I am one of those who everyplace I camp I go around with a trash bag picking up everyone else trash not just mine so it is always better for me having been there and for others and myself next time. A shovel, axe and plenty of water to make sure the campfire is completely out. By that I mean pour water in the spot, stir around until it is cold to the touch. Why the axe? For clearing an area along with shovel around the campfire, and reducing the size of the firewood. I want a campfire not a raging bonfire which in most cases is not appropriate in most but not all situations and maybe hard to control.:)

As far as smoke in your in RV or somebody else. I don't boondock to be close to others. If with a group usually we are all around the campfire so we all smell like smoke. Ever notice no matter where you sit the smoke goes your direction? <_< In that same vain it is hard to keep it from going toward another rig when you have circled the wagons as breeze's change but then we are all friends camping together. Carry a full bottle of "Fabreeze"!!! :P:)

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#14 mockturtle

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:45 PM

Bob, the mention of 'bonfire' reminds me of an incident we witnessed quite a few years ago at, of all places, a KOA. A European couple with a rental RV started breaking limbs off trees and started a huge--I mean HUGE--bonfire that almost burned down trees and everyone's RVs. Thankfully, the fire department was called in to put it to rest. I doubt that the KOA was very happy. The couple was given a warning but I don't think they were fined.

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#15 BooneDocks

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:13 AM

Haven't had a campfire in the last nine months on the road. Have been in the southeast mainly and those campgrounds that did have rings all had bans.

My pet campfire peeve is the 24X7 raging fire. A few hours in the evening/night, sure. But all day and all night?
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#16 Freddy & Delcie

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:19 AM

As campgroung host, part of the job is cleaning fire rings. At least 30 to 40% of the fire rings we clean have been left to burn down without water put on them, most are cool but some still have coals under the ashes. We were told at our orentation meeting that we could scatter cold ashes in the underbrush as potash was good fertilizer. After doing this for a couple of weeks there was a hot coal in cold ashes and it started a small fire, a camper called the fire dept and it took them four hrs. to get the fire compleatly out as pine needles were about six inches deep. The fire reset the next day and they had to come back and put it out again. The Forest Service gave me a ticket for $300.00 which the Company paid. [Luckly I didn't get fired]
One more thing. As a boy scout we were taught to cover a campfire with dirt, this only banks a fire and the coals will stay live under the dirt for several hours. It sure makes it hard for a host to clean the firering full of dirt and you still have a hot fire in your bucket. Thats my story and Im sticking to it.:lol:
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#17 moonlightrunner

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:41 AM

Many of the campgrounds I stayed at last summer had fire bans. I got friendly with the neighbors as an excuse to check out their little portable fire pit. It was a small LP gas one and it all packed up into a little red container. It was a neat little thing and they were allowed to use it even with the fire bans in place. They told me they enjoyed it often. They had run into a little problem with transporting firewood and they said the LP fire pit eliminated not only the firewood problem but the fire ban problems as well. It toasted marshmallows perfectly. So it looked like a fire, felt like a fire and toasted marshmallows like a fire... passes my criteria. The benefits of no smoke, no firewood to cut/transport/buy/store and no hot coals to worry about leaving behind (they said it cooled down enough to pack up in a short length of time). I can even get a little cooking grill if I decide I want to cook something outside on the fire. Amazon has it for $112. Seems to be a good deal to me. I will be buying one before I leave my current location. It may not be a real fire but I don't think it matters since I am not a "real boondocker".

#18 sandsys

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:26 PM

My pet campfire peeve is the 24X7 raging fire. A few hours in the evening/night, sure. But all day and all night?

I once camped with a woman who did all her cooking over a campfire. Yes, she kept it going all day but it was not raging--just coals most of the time. She's the one who taught me you can make egg sandwiches in those campfire sandwich irons. :)

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#19 BooneDocks

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:09 PM

I once camped with a woman who did all her cooking over a campfire. Yes, she kept it going all day but it was not raging--just coals most of the time. She's the one who taught me you can make egg sandwiches in those campfire sandwich irons. :)

Linda Sand


That would be a great use of a campfire. What came to my mind was a campground back in Michigan where the guy next to us had a huge pile of wood and for four straight days and nights had a raging campfire going with no cooking whatsoever going on -- just a constant raging campfire.
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#20 hdrider

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:19 AM

We like a nice fire on a cool morning and in the evening. But if we have one and what size it is depends on where we are camping and the situation. If we are in a resort type setting and have close neighbors most of the time we won't have one even if there is a fire pit in fear that smoke might bother someone. However we also camp places with larger sites or even in a wagon wheel formation with friends and have a good rip roaring fire. But when that happens it's in areas that if you go there you just better expect it. And you know there will be no complaining.
The safety things that have been mentioned are just no brainers to me reguardless of the size of fire we have.
We have talked about buying one of those gas fire pits but even though we would use it,,, it just won't be the same to us anyway...

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