Scott Robertson

Leave No Trace Campfire
By: Posted On: 2020-04-30

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Leave No Trace Campfire?

The Boy Scouts of America set a goal to instill the right values in the boys who belong to the organization. While the "Leave No Trace" principle sounds like it doesn't matter, you have to look at the combined effects of millions of people and the negative effects it can have on the environment. When even one person litters, they contribute to a dirty and more polluted environment. Having a poorly located campfire or a campsite as only one person might have little impact, but when you have thousands who toss trash and practice poor environmental principles, it adds up. Let's have a look at how it applies to campfires.

How Campfires Have an Impact


Some people mistakenly believe that a campfire won't have a strong impact, but it can have a negative effect. When campfires get overused in a single area, it can degrade the local environment because of how this increases the need for firewood.

How Boy Scouts Can Address the Problem


As a Boy Scout, you have different practices you can apply that will practice the principle of "Leave No Trace Behind." If you decide to build a fire, you should first look at the potential for how resource damage can have a negative impact on the local environment. Whenever possible, try to use a campfire ring because this helps to keep the campfire contained and use one of the best fire starters to spend less time trying to get a fire going. If you don't have a campfire ring, you can also contain the fire by placing rocks around it.


Some of the ways that you can practice this principle of Leave No Trace Behind includes:


  • Don't have a fire in places where wood is scarce.

  • Throw dead and downed branches on the fire instead of chopping wood.

  • Burn all wood to ash whenever possible.

  • Remove unburnt trash from fire. Don't burn plastic.

Check to See That All Wood is Done Burning


Before you begin, you first have to check to see that you have burned all wood down to ash. At the least, you want to make sure that you don't leave any hot coals remaining in the fire. You can usually ensure that you have gotten rid of the fire by pouring water over the top of the fire. This will extinguish the hot coals entirely with enough water. Check this to see that you have fully extinguished any and all possible glints of fire. Never leave a fire unattended.

Use a Lightweight Camp Stove


Lightweight camp stoves have become a popular alternative to having a campfire because of how it eliminates the need to put wood on a fire. Stoves work fast, and they don't degrade the environment. Not only that, but it can make the cleanup at the end of meals much easier. At the end of a meal, you might enjoy a lantern instead of using a campfire.

Where to Be Most Concerned


The particular areas where you need to be the most concerned comes from desert areas and places without wood. Whether you choose wood or a stove, you will want one of the best fire starters to help light the fire.


For a lot of Boy Scouts, eating cooked fish that you caught from the lake around a campfire becomes a rite of passage. You remember the laughs, the bonding, and the friendships. Not only that, but they teach some great things in the Boy Scouts that will remain with you for life. One of the things that they teach you is a great reverence for nature. In this way, you don't contribute to damaging the environment. You have many great principles for life taught in the Boy Scouts, such as loyalty, trustworthiness, kindness, bravery, self-reliance and how to stay prepared for any situation. Anyone who wishes to become a leader must embody and live by these values.



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