5. Minimize Campfire Impacts (Overview)

Two backpackers enjoy a stove-cooked meal in a dry wash.
Stoves create fewer impacts than fires.

Minimize Campfire Impacts: Overview (click here for 106 kb pdf version)

Ask local USFS staff about pertinent regulations and campfire management techniques.

Understand that naturally occurring fire is uncommon in the temperate rainforests of the Chugach and Tongass National Forests.

Recognize that fires are unethical without abundant dead and downed wood and without proper measures to keep them from spreading through organic soil/peat moss/root systems.

Be realistic about wind, weather, location, and wood availability when deciding if it is safe and responsible to have a fire -- never rely on a fire for light, warmth or cooking.

Be mindful that campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry by encouraging additional use in pristine areas.

Foregoing fire and using a camp stove represents the lightest hand on the land.

If you choose to have a fire, use an existing grate or fire ring, or have it below the high tide line.

If there are no existing grates or fire rings, build a low-impact fire: 18-24 inches in diameter or less atop sand/gravel on a fire blanket/fire pan or in a sand/gravel pit.

Firewood must be dead, down, abundant and collected from a widespread area; places that accumulate driftwood represent the best natural sources of firewood.

Never fell a standing snag nor strip dead branches off a standing tree.

Burn firewood completely to ash including the ends; never burn foil, foil-lined packets, plastic, aluminum, metal, glass or food, and make sure your fire is out cold.

Restore the fire site to its natural appearance.