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Thread: minding your campfire

  1. #1
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    Default minding your campfire

    I was out yesterday trying to fill a co workers cow tag off the Saljacket Slough, cruising up the slough we noticed smoke coming from an campsite. At first i thought maybe someone was there so we just passed by but on the way back there was alot more smoke so i tied off the boat to find a 20 square foot area burning there wood pile was engulfed in flames, all about 15 feet from the fire pit that was filled with cans. Looked like it has been burning for a while.
    I rolled what i could into the water, and since the fire is on a FT Wainwright training area I got a grid called my buddy at work (I work at range control on Wainwright) he notified the alaska fire service so hopefully they sent someone out.
    keep an eye on those camp fires.

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    Default What in the world???

    Wiso,
    We didn't realize that you were smokey the bear or a smoke jumper!

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    If you camp in an area with a lot of peat in the soil it can be very deceptive. Many years ago my cousins and I were out camping. We spent the evening by the fire and got up to a slightly warm bed of ash. We tossed a bit of water on it and didn't think much more about it. We left camp and went out for a day of dirt biking and had a blast. When we got back we found that the fire had gone underground and the small fire we had was now about a 10' circle of smoldering ash. Best we can tell is it caught a spruce root and traveled along it and sparked back up several feet away and just smoldered the moss. Very scary and an eye opener for us as we generally are very careful. Lots of water hauling from a nearby creek that day!

    Since that instance we are much more careful about where we set a fire and nearly always dig a fire pit and excavate it to the point that we have a good layer of dirt with no vegetation in it to line it.

    Weirdest thing I have ever seen in my many campfires was about 2 years ago in the Chugach mountains. We camped along a little hanging lake about 600' up the mountain. We carved out a great camping spot and it was bare ground dropping fairly steeply to the water. We dug out a nice fire pit and set up stadium style seating around it. We fired up a small but VERY HOT fire using dead-fall spruce. We stayed up late sipping whiskey and chatting until the fire burned down then called it a night. The next day we got up and started packing up. We went to the fire pit and it was still VERY HOT! I had a woodsman's pal and I used it to dig out some of the coals and just set it to rolling down the bare dirt slope into the water. I was shocked to see the soil from the hole actually flow down the hill and hit the water with a hiss. I dug a lot of dirt and made the hole about 3x larger with all of it flowing down the hill like a thick gray fluid. I still can't figure out what was in the soil to make that happen? After excavating the hole we spent about an hour hauling water in 3 gallon ziploc bags until we had completely filled the hole up and kept it that way.

    I know we have a couple geologists on here perhaps one could provide an answer as to what would cause this to happen. I was thinking perhaps a high magnesium content?

    Anyway, campfire safety is always a good topic and I sure hope the one you came on is taken care of!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Cold View Post
    Wiso,
    We didn't realize that you were smokey the bear or a smoke jumper!
    Hahahahahahah well I helped out with the yellowstone fires back in 88,

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    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    wisco what area were you involved in the 88 Yellowstone fire. I worked the Cooke City/Crandall area just outside the northeast entrance. A lot of bad memories from that fire and still mad about it today.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

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    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Tundra and/or peat fires are indeed dangerous. A friend of mine had a scary encounter on the tundra area a number of years ago. He had a small campfire in the evening; watched it burn down; dowsed the coal bed with water; then crawled into his tent (approximately 15 feet from campfire). He awoke some hours later when the foot of his sleeping bag and the end of his tent were smoldering. The "extinguished" fire had burned underground along the peat. That's one reason I never build a "resreational" campfire in peat/tundra areas. Just me...

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Hope this doesn't turn into an anti-campfire thread (as we have had before). If people just use common sense in where/how they build their fires, we will continue to enjoy that SUBSTANCIAL part of the Alaska experience. In some states it is now verboden to enjoy a fire while camping or hunting.

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    What do you want? A Cookie!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Cold View Post
    What do you want? A Cookie!
    yeah Lemon Rasin

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Hope this doesn't turn into an anti-campfire thread (as we have had before). If people just use common sense in where/how they build their fires, we will continue to enjoy that SUBSTANCIAL part of the Alaska experience. In some states it is now verboden to enjoy a fire while camping or hunting.
    Not from me I love a good fire, but negligence on the part of some is the reason why so many laws and limitations are set now adays

  11. #11
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Abso-

    -lutely. Dumb people generally ruin it for the rest of us.

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