So as the camping season begins, so does the wild fire season.

There have already been a number of fires in the Sierras, one just outside Placerville.

King Fire

King Fire: September 2014 outside Pollock Pines, Rubicon Trail closed for weeks

Campfire permits are required for any fire on federal lands. That includes propane BBQs. Permits can be issued by the US Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

Here is a link to the Cal Fire page about permits: Fire Permit Link, from there you can get a permit online.

The thing to remember about campfires, it’s not out until it’s cold and out. The Forest Service permit says to use the back of your hand to see if the fire is still warm. Hotshots and other wildland firefighters will actually run their hands through the ashes to make sure the fire is COLD!

Fire restrictions can change at any time. It is the users responsibility to know the current restrictions. I try and keep up to date information on fire permits on my “Conditions” page.

Clearing all flammable material from around the fire is a no brainer. Building on a granite slab is the best way to go but that is not always possible. If you build on dirt, make sure it is dirt. Duff consists of shed vegetative parts, such as leaves, branches, bark, and stems, existing in various stages of decomposition above the soil surface. It doesn’t burn well, but it does burn.

I have come across a campfire with smoke coming up from the ground six feet from the pit. The fire had traveled through the duff layer, finally surfacing six feet away as a whisp of smoke.

I have personally seen a forest service LEO write a ticket for not having someone at the fire at all times. The one guy who was left at camp was sleeping one off in his tent and the LEO didn’t buy the argument that  one the smoldering fire wasn’t a fire and two the guy in the tent was “watching” the fire. Don’t turn your back on a campfire.

Use four times as much water as you think you need to put out a fire. Pour and stir. Pour and stir. Make sure it’s out.

You don’t want to be the one that burns the Rubicon Trail.



Here I am, hanging out with Smokey Bear at the Reno Motorsports show:

Smokey Bear (Large)

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