Week 5 of Leave No Trace: Minimizing Campfire Impacts
Welcome to Leave No Trace week five, and week ten of Green Tips! WE MADE IT TO DOUBLE DIGITS FOLKS. This week we get to visit our ancestral roots and talk about fire! Who doesn’t love sitting around a nice fire enjoying its warmth and flickering light? NO ONE.
While fire is important to camping and survival, the advancements in technology, like portable stoves, reduce the need to actually make a campfire. Less invasive to the environment and quicker than a traditional fire, stoves also allow one to make fire where no combustible material can be found. One alternative to gas a stove, that we love here at Powe., is the DIY camping stove we created a couple weeks back in our Green Tip series (DIY Campin' Stoves!). Composed of wax and cardboard in a tin can, they are super easy to make, waterproof, and keep a contained flame.
But… Sometimes you just have to make a fire!
If that’s the case, be sure to create as minimal of an impact as possible and only use what you need. Look for pre existing fire rings to use or create a mound fire, preventing from scorching the area beneath your fire. Essentially, a fire mound is a 5 inch layer of soil/sand laid out on a cloth of tarp with a diameter larger than your fire will be. The mound will create a buffer between coals and ground, reducing your chances of leaving a trace! Make sure you burn the wood to white ash and spread it around, and relocate the contents of your mound.
Rules for gathering firewood:
Whatever you do, don’t tap into your inner lumberjack and start hacking down trees and limbs of trees, dead or alive. “Not even the dead trees? They’re dead, they won’t even know.” Yes, even the dead ones. Dead trees provide excellent habitat for many insects, birds, forest creatures, and they recycle nutrients back into the environment.
Instead of destroying important aspects of an ecosystem, gather small pieces of wood that are already downed. As a rule of thumb, if the diameter of the stick is more than the diameter of your wrist and can’t be broken by hand or judo chop (Proper Judo Chop Form ), leave it be. Gather wood from a variety of areas so you don’t deplete the resources of any area. Make a game out of it and ask your friends to try and find where you gathered wood from. If they can see where you gathered from you lose and have to eat three bugs, but if you win, you get 100 Gnar Points.
After the fire is done, redistribute any remaining wood you did not use and scatter the remnants of the fire. Be sure to always have someone watching your fire and make sure it is completely burnt out before you get rid of any ashes. If you choose gas or DIY stoves, pack in and pack out like champions, and leave no trace.
Thanks for catching another Green Tip Tuesday (the best day of the week, by far way cooler than hump day, not as cool as friday though)!
P.S. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the new Fourth Phase Trailer and get ready to have your mind blown. Yes Please