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SMT224

Open fire???

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Well if OakTree is right that kills what I was going to add.. We have camporees now that don't allow any fires, but more often, just allow the raised fire, and most troops in our area has something (most craftily self concocted, rather then store bought) to do a raised fire. Cooking many times has been done in that for many troops.. But our state just changed the traveling wood, from being allowed to transport NH wood not out of state.. To only allowed to transport it within the same county.. (You really have to depend on the honesty of people to enforce this rule.).. But, since BS are honest. I trust we will follow it. But.. it will effect the open campfires alot more so then the "raised fires only" rule did.. I see campfires becoming less prominent at the camporees.

 

The change to it being a breakfast or lunch for yourself, I have no problem with.. I don't see this as not having to eat it. If no one eats it, then it really isn't a meal, it is just cooking. To have it be breakfast or lunch, someone has to eat it (around morning or noontime).. But, why can't they prepare and cook it for the whole patrol rather then just for themselves and it count? I guess cooking for yourself is natural enough if you are backpacking.. But, a long time ago but I remember my son preping a meal to cook for himself, while the patrol was going to cook something else.. He needed the sign off, the rest did not. I thought it kind of odd..

 

So if you pair the idea of cooking for yourself with backpacking, and the open fire.. How many troops create an open fire while backpacking. Can't drag along something for a raised fire. LNT means don't create a new campfire ring, and hopefully you will find few old campfires left by others..

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We often camp in areas with a significant amount of dead fall. I see a well done and controlled Scout campfire as a public service to reduce dead fall (potential fuel for a forest fire) near populated areas. In some areas, not all, this rabid "fire is bad" results in nothing more than an increase dead fall and therefore an increase in fire danger. IMHO that is.

 

And yes, there are those who will point out that the particulate matter in smoke of a campfire is a problem, but how about a forest fire for particulates??!!

 

But back to my original rant... if the trend is less or no open fires and more stove use, then why not learn how to light a stove, not just set it up and look at it. Or should there be an adult hovering about to light the stove at all times? Is it a liability issue with regard to burns?

 

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Kinda is a sad situation when one figures that spilled fuel is more dangerous for everyone concerned than spilled firewood.

 

I've been using wood for fires for 50 years now and have camped everywhere, including pristine city park lawns and still have been able to LNT wherever I go. It's a matter of training, not rules. LNT for me is more of an attitude rather than a set of rules.

 

Yes, it is possible to build a proper fire pit using a cat hole shovel. It's a bit rough on the edge, but one can very quickly cut a fire pit using a belt ax and sheath knife, too. Last fire I built for cooking? Kayak trip, camped on a sand bar, when we left, no trace of a fire (or anything else) could be found. The last thing I want in my sealed compartment is explosive fuel on a hot day. When comparing the safety issues, wood won hands down!

 

Your mileage may vary,

 

Stosh

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this change over a year ago when the new handbook came out. We made a similar mistake years ago from not reading the requirements. I think is was second clase, used to say "draw a map" and though the requirement changed years before we were still making the boys draw a map.

 

I think we should get over the dumbing down thing and as long as your program forces them to cook over an open fire or starve they will cook over an open fire.

 

the other lesson is to read the new material when it comes out

 

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SMT224,

 

This isn't meant to be argumentative, so please don't take it that way.

 

You say that you guys always have a fire going. As a Campmaster at one of our council properties, I've observed troops that do that. What I've also observed is that those troops tend to be a little lighter on program than troops that don't have fires thru the day. When you have a fire, someone has to tend it. What I've seen are a gaggle of scouts sitting around the fire all day poking sticks in it. Nothing wrong with down time and an opportunity for bonding, but they tend to sit in camp all day. They tend to be smaller troops too. I serve a troop with 50 boys. 50 boys can't all get around a single fire and we really don't want 6 different fires going (5 patrols and the adults). Each campout has a PLC planned program and the scouts are out of camp except at meal times. The only fire we have is for our campfire program on Saturday night. I'm just curious how keeping a fire burning for the duration of the campout affects your program. I do realize that every troop is individual and operates differently.

 

As far as burning up deadfall to reduce fire hazards.......just how much firewood do you guys go thru in a weekend? :)

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moosetracker, I don't think we have a direct contradiction. The pictures were of "enclosed fire pits". You can also have an open raised fire. A lot of those have removable lids. Your solution is a good one for some situations.

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Hey Beaver -

 

We have a campfire nearly every camping trip, but do not keep it going all the time. We usually have a small/medium sized fire in the morning, especially if it's cold or cool. Depending on the Saturday activity and how early we need to head out, Scouts may or may not cook breakfast over (or in) the fire. The fire is completely extinguished after breakfast and before we leave camp unless on the rare occasion someone is hanging around the campsite for the day.

 

The next time we get a fire going is late afternoon or early evening, and the Scouts make a larger fire for cooking dinner and our Saturday campfire program. The size of the fire is dependent on the size of the fire ring, how much wood the guys gather, and how much they cut up.

 

The fires on our March camping trip were small as much of the wood around the campsite was wet, and there wasn't much to start with. Nevertheless they got a nice breakfast fire going - it was 26F when we got up - so a fire was cheery. The dinner fire was a bit bigger, but guys were in their tents by nine as it got cold fast and they were tired from the hike. The adults hung around the fire for a bit longer before we put it out and went to bed as well.

 

Rarely do we have a fire on Sunday morning as we have a quick breakfast, pack up, and head out early.

 

So, it answer to your question, we don't have a fire going all the time, but fires are important parts of our program. We almost always do an ashes ceremony on Saturday night and often do a Flag retirement. as you well know, fire is a critical part of both of those ceremonies.

 

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Maybe the leadership enthusiasts have a valid point. The vast majority of 21st century Americans think of "camping" in terms of a recreational vehicle or a cabin with electricity. Microwaves are standard fare, having replaced gas stoves decades ago. Mom cooks the meals.

 

Cooking should be a 21st century leadership opportunity:

 

Explain to your mommy that you are hungry.

 

Demonstrate that you are in a bad mood because you have not eaten.

 

Guide your mommy to the kitchen.

 

Enable her to cook your meal.

 

The object of cooking is to eat, right? People who want to return to standards of the last century will insist that not requiring the Scout to microwave his own meals weakens the program, but at one time, the practice was to dig a trench around a tent - we no longer do that. Is not trenching a tent weakening the program?

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

http://kudu.net

 

 

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Most of my troop tends to cook on those big coleman stoves. Since my patrol has a tendancy to hike into camp instead of being dropped off at a campsite next to a trailer, we decided the stove was too heavy to carry around. We cook over a fire using a couple old aluminum Dutch ovens. Four pieces of aluminum split between four boys? Easy enough. One large stove carried by one boy? Not only is it not fair, it slows us down. We still eat and get cleaned up before anyone else in the troop.

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...nearly thirty years ago, I seem to remember fewer troops using Dutch Ovens compared to these days. Perhaps others can suggest if their memories suggest a wider use of Dutch Oven now.

 

SeattlePioneer, when I was a scout thirty (some-odd) years ago, my troop didn't own a Dutch Oven. Too heavy to carry backpacking, which is almost all we did. One car camp a year, and that was at a lagoon which we explored with canoes after setting up camp, and we still cooked over our white gas stoves.

 

Yeah, we used stoves instead of wood fires. We'd have a campfire, sure, but patrols cooked over our own stoves. When I went to IOLS and everybody was cooking stuff in dutch ovens and carting around 50 lb bags of Kingsford Briquettes, I wondered just where I was.

 

But I guess that just highlights we all have different memories and different ideas of the right way to do it. Personally, I prefer the backpacking stove and white gas, but I think knowing how to lay and start a fire (and demonstrating the ability) should still be part of the First Class requirement, even if the scouts have to do it in an artificial environment. "Me Make Fire!" is a boast every young man should be able to make.

 

 

Kinda is a sad situation when one figures that spilled fuel is more dangerous for everyone concerned than spilled firewood.

 

Stosh, I was just looking over the camp rules for our Summer Camp, and all liguid fuel needs to be stored in a central location with the camp staff - our troop and patrols apparently can't keep their own stove fuel with them.

 

Wonder if we can get an extension cord to the campsite from the camp office to run the microwave?

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In 1960 or '61, I remember the first time I ever saw a Dutch oven. It was a novelty which the scoutmaster bought in order to try it out. And our troop had quite a time figuring out how to use it on an open fire. I personally cremated many batches of baked beans using that thing and the aura and mystery of those times rank right up there with the rapture. Needless to say, we never got another one while I was a boy. Today, this unit has at least 5 cast iron ones and I don't know how many aluminum. Moreover, the boys learn quickly how to use them.

We also sometimes use the old Coleman stoves but I guess we're still stuck in the past and don't micro-manage the storage of fuel, etc.

But mostly, we cook with wood over an open fire...with an occasional bag of charcoal for special occasions. Never had an injury. Never set the forest on fire. Never had any close calls with tents or anything, OK a few singed boots on cold nights, LOL. If they try to tighten up on this stuff, we're just going to ignore it. Local option remains alive around here - just below the radar.

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