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OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:14 pm
by toms
Fire is an integral part of our outdoor experience. We build camp fires for cooking and socializing. In a survival situation, a fire can save use. Fire can also bite you and take out a whole forest or town.

The focus of the net this week, is on all aspects of fire. We can discuss any or all of these item plus anything else you think of:

Building and lighting fires
Fire starters
Qualities of wood
Fire precaution
Cooking techniques and temp. control
Fire kit for survival
Fire restrictions
Alternatives to a camp fire when required
Camp fire entertainment
Putting camp fires out

Please post up you thoughts, pictures, tables, and cautions.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:43 am
Campfire alternative: After considering the amount of space taken up by one night’s worth of campfire hardwood, I’ve started taking a propane “fire bowl” when camping:
  • The volume (size) of the fire bowl plus propane tank somewhat exceeds that of a box of wood, but can provide satisfying, warm camp fires for 4 to 5 days.
  • Nothing can quite replace the wonderful smell (and smoke in the eyes) of a nice campfire, but I use a small stainless steel smoker box with wood chips to provide a bit of smoke smell.
  • Some areas encourage or restrict campfires to only locally grown wood or heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Many areas do not allow downed or dead wood to be collected.
  • A fire bowl be used in areas with campfire restrictions.
  • And can of course serve dual use on your patio at home.
Outland Living Fire Pits
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The fitted bag is a required accessory to keep fire rock dust and soot from messing up your vehicle
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Question: How many people often take a 20-pound propane tank when outdoors?
If you’re bringing one anyway, the fire pit is easy to pack.
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Product Spotlight: Provides stability and keeps propane tank upright either in vehicle or on ground
Though always strap down heavy objects!
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For starting fires: USB-rechargeable plasma lighter
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USB-rechargeable plasma candle lighter
Perfect for igniting propane and other fuels (including tinder) in heaters, stoves, and fire pits/bowls
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Cotton M-65 “campfire jacket”
Heavy fabric with tight weave is difficult to ignite and does not melt
Provides protection against burning embers popping out of the campfire and landing on synthetic clothing, melting holes
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:36 am
by toms
Fire Kit

When outdoors, I like to have at least 3 ways to start a fire with me at all times.
These items are small and easy to carry.
Use them to light all your fires as practice for when you have an emergency. Don't forget to replenish any consumables.

1. Perhaps the easiest to create and use is a waterproof match case. I stuff as much fire starter as I can in the lid. It might help but for sure it keeps the matches from rattling.
Water Proof Match Case.JPG
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2. The next great item is the Light My Fire flint and steel tool. You can create a long strong spark every time.
It is best to put the Light My Fire into a small bag before carrying it in your pocket. Over time it can wear a hole in the pocket.
Light My Fire flint & steel.JPG
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3. A magnesium bar and a knife or hack saw blade to scrape shaving off is a bit lower on my list. Mainly because it take a lot more practice and skill.
The shavings become your tinder and then you use the built in flint with the back of your knife to create the spark.
Magnesium bar & hack saw blade.JPG
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4. With a battery you can start very fine steel wool on fire and drop it into your prepared tinder. It is easy to short out the battery and create a spark that starts the steel wool. Ground one end and strike the other end on positive end of the battery. I recall doing this with a AA battery successfully but very quickly losing the battery charge for a second go. You will likely not carry a full roll of steel wool but plan for multiple lights.

Steel Wool.JPG
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Battery with steel wool.JPG
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5. While not a source of spark, "Fire Balls" you make will sustain the spark for long enough to start the rest of the fire.
To make one work 2 big fingers of Vaseline into a cotton ball and put 5 or 6 into a small container.
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Fire BAll.JPG
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:44 am
by toms

In many survival situations, the ability to start a fire can make the difference between living and dying. Fire can fulfill many needs. It can provide warmth and comfort. It not only cooks and preserves food, it also provides warmth in the form of heated food that saves calories our body normally uses to produce body heat. You can use fire to purify water, sterilize bandages, signal for rescue, and provide protection from animals. It can be a psychological boost by providing peace of mind and companionship. You can also use fire to produce tools and weapons.

Fire can cause problems, as well. It can cause forest fires or destroy essential equipment. Fire can also cause burns and carbon monoxide poisoning when used in shelters.

U.S. Army Field Manual 21-76

Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:33 am
by toms
Camp Fire Permit

In California and most states you need to get an annual camp fire permit to use any form of fire on public lands.

"Campfire Permits are required for open fires, such as campfire, barbecues and portable stoves on federally controlled lands and private lands that are the property of another person.
On private lands, written permission from the landowner is also required for campfire use."

This an annual permit which expires on 12/31 each year. There is no cost. I believe it is just their opportunity to talk about fire safety once a year.

You can get it on line by watching a video , taking a test and printing it out at this web site.

I prefer to stop at one of the agency field offices and get a permit. The reason is that they issue a nice small permit that is easy to carry in
a wallet.

Fire permit.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 5:36 pm
by toms
Key Hole Cooking Fire

This is my favorite style of camp fire design when I am cooking with wood with no grate.

The same result can be done with rocks (or bricks) on the surface but I like to dig a narrow trench just a bit short of the width of the bottom of my pan and about 4 inches deep.

The main fire pit will provide a continuous supply of coals to cook over. By pointing the open end of the trench into the wind the coals will stay hot. I can control the heat by the amount of coals raked in.
Cooking on coals will leave the bottom of the pan with only a light brown coating that is easily scrubbed off.

I didn't have any pictures so I had to draw you one. I decided to spend only enough time to convey the concept.
Keyhole Fire pit.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:11 am
by DaveK

This post could be subtitled, "Common Sense, Your Friend" or "Remember, This IS California". Here's why!!!

Every camper who enjoys a camp fire has an obligation to make sure it is safe. That is where the common sense part comes in. The California reference is a reminder that California (and many other states, as well) are particularly litigious.

When you get your fire permit (which you should do) and when you read it carefully, you will find language which says something to the effect:
The cost of fighting the fire, not to mention the cost of damages to homes and property, will, not can, be enormous. That is precisely why your campfire can be very expensive. The good news however, is that there are some very simple techniques that can protect you from this potential cost. Several governmental agencies offer good advice on how to safely have a campfire, so I will only offer that from Cal Fire (California, of course.) Check them out here: ... re-safety/

Safety techniques are ALL important (and simple), but one is at the top of the list, IMO. That technique is a safety clearance zone around the fire. Cal Fire says this about the "zone:"
Camping Fire Safety—How to Build an Open Campfire

Select a level, open location away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush or decaying leaves and needles. Clear an area at least 10 feet in diameter (local regulations may vary). Scrape away grass, leaves or needles down to the mineral soil. Scoop a depression in the center of the cleared area in which to build the fire and put a ring of rocks around it.
Like this:

Fire Clearance Zone.JPG
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The remainder of Cal Fire's recommendations go like this:
While the Fire is Burning/Open Fire Safety

Always keep a shovel and bucket of water nearby at all times. While the fire is burning, be sure there is a responsible person in attendance of the fire at all times. Never leave children around a fire unattended.

How to Completely Extinguish an Open Campfire

Use the “drown, stir and feel” method: drown the fire with water, then stir around the fire area with your shovel to wet any remaining embers and ash. Be sure to turn wood and coals over and wet all sides. Move some dirt onto the fire site and mix thoroughly to fully smother it. And finally, feel the area with the back of your hand to ensure nothing is still smoldering.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:29 am
by DaveK

There is no finer taste than food cooked over Juniper. When in the desert, it is a real treat to throw steaks, quail, venison or your favorite meat on the grille, over a campfire of Juniper wood.

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Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:47 am
by DaveK
  • Watch out for sparks, especially if your tent is made from synthetic fabric. It will happen, and by the time that you realize the damage, it will be too late. Keep your tent at a respectable distance from the campfire. Canvas tents are much more resistant to the errant sparks from campfires.
  • Synthetic clothing is very susceptible to damage from the heat of the fire or sparks. Do as Paul suggested, above, and either wear spark resistant clothing or real fabric clothing when huddled around the campfire.
  • It is great to warm your feet at the campfire, but I've seen too many instances of melted footwear by cold campers. If it's your only pair of shoes, trouble follows!!!
  • Don't bury live coals.

Re: OAUSA Net - September 26, 2019 Fire

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:58 pm
by Diesel4x
Thanks for early check in, KF6KOC Randy.