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JMT : Fire Restrictions
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john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 05:31:51 MDT Print View

I will be starting the JMT next week, but see there are Fire Restriions in force for Inyo National Forest. They say "no campfires or stove fires", but with a CA Campfire Permit, gas stoves and pressurised liquid stoves may be used.

I would like to ask those familiar with restrictions of this type : does this rule out

1. Liquid alcohol

2. Esbit tablets

3. Bushbuddy can stoves ?


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 11:25:21 MDT Print View

My understanding is you have to be able to shut the stove off, like a MSR, Primus, Optimus stove using white gas or a canister that have valves to close. Although if you have a alky stove you can smother it, but it does not fall into the correct category. I don't know if many folks from CA use a wood stove, I have thought of getting one, but it would have a short season for safe use here.

steven franchuk
Re: JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 13:07:22 MDT Print View

Once you get above 9,000 feet collecting wood for fires is generally not allowed. There are simply too many people and not enough wood for campfires. In many places here are no trees. #3 is ruled out.

Edited by Surf on 07/17/2012 13:10:03 MDT.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
re: JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 14:09:35 MDT Print View

They sell esbit and denatured alcohol at Muir Trail Ranch, so you can safely assume its okay to use. As for a Bushbuddy, I have seen threads in the past that wonder if they are okay above the 10,000 or 9,000 feet restriction.

There are two interpretations to any law or restriction: the letter of the law, or the spirit of the law.

I would argue that the spirit of the restriction is that, as stated above, there is not enough wood to collect. However, for a Bushbuddy I think there are plenty of twigs. To be considerate, I would take your ashes with you and deposit them below the elevation restriction. No one should be offended if you are considerate.

Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: re: JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 14:36:49 MDT Print View

Unfortunately your considerate, nonoffensive interpretation of the "spirit of the law" may leave you with a $5000 fine. For some reason law enforcement officers tend to get caught up with the "letter of the law" side of things. While an individual ranger may let you slide here and there, or interpret the law more favorably, I wouldn't bet $5000 on it.

Last year I called SEKI to ask about using wood stoves above 10,000 ft, even if I collected the fuel below 10,000. The answer I got was: "No."

In any case, that's a moot point this year in Inyo, as there is a special fire restriction order that the OP mentioned. It states that the only allowable stoves are: "portable stove or lantern using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel."

The spirit of the current restriction has nothing to do with fuel availablity at high altitude -- it's because with a virtually non-existent snowpack the whole southern Sierra is going to be a giant tinderbox this summer.

I just left a message at the White Mountain ranger station asking if alcohol stoves are OK under the current restriction or not. Based on the letter of the law, I would argue that my 12-10 stove counts as using "pressurized liquid fuel." We'll see if that argument holds water -- my guess is that it will not and I'll have to bring the canister. I'll post the response I get here.

As for Esbit, that doesn't technically fall into either the gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel categories, but you might want to call them to check anyway.


Edited by phageghost on 07/17/2012 14:42:46 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: re: JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 14:40:24 MDT Print View

I wonder if an Esbit burner is classified as a legal portable stove. It is not exactly jellied petroleum (although close), and it sure isn't pressurized liquid.


john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 15:07:18 MDT Print View

Perhaps the logic is that a 12-10 with an open reservoir of burning alcohol, or burning tablets or wood twigs could all be kicked over accidentally, and set the duff or undergrowth alight. A pressure stove or gas canister has the fuel fully contained inside it, and if knocked over would not spew out fuel , and can be quickly turned off.

I am awaiting an email from Inyo about this, so I'll post again when I hear. SEKI has restrictions too, but so far only apply below 6,000 ft, but that may change. Yosemite currently has no fire restrictions ( apart from the 9600 ft one ).

Edited by jhansford on 07/17/2012 15:20:18 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 15:35:46 MDT Print View

Considering our dry winter and the fact that you will be hiking above 9000 + feet...


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
JMT: Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 17:33:47 MDT Print View

It's hot and dry, think!


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: JMT: Fire Restrictions on 07/17/2012 19:42:12 MDT Print View

"It's hot and dry, think!"


Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/18/2012 09:40:05 MDT Print View

I just spoke to an Inyo FS ranger at the Mammoth office who said that any kind of fuel, as long as it's not wood, is allowed under the fire restrictions order. I had specifically asked with reference to both esbit & alcohol, in which she reiterated any kind of fuel as long it isn't wood.

Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: JMT : Fire Restrictions on 07/20/2012 13:48:09 MDT Print View

Thanks, that's good to know. I just checked my voicemail and I did get a response from the White Mountain station that alcohol is OK. It seems like the intent of the restriction is indeed "anything but wood" -- but the people that write the regs are still stuck in the 70s with idea that everyone is using white gas and blue-its.

That being said, as others have pointed out it's going to be extremely dry so extra caution is advised no matter what you're burning . . .

john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
Re : JMT Fire Restrictions on 07/20/2012 17:43:44 MDT Print View

To double confirm the official line, here is my email reply from Inyo :

" Stoves like the Bushbuddy that are fire boxes that burn twigs, paper or trash or even charcoal are not allowed (even in cleared areas).

Stove choices [ alcohol and esbit ] would be allowed. Propane and white gas stoves are allowed.
Please use caution with any open flame, refueling or lighting stoves should be done in a cleared area (bare earth). "

I've just gone out and bought myself a shiny new Jetboil Sol Ti, and wil enjoy finding out how efficient it really is. I hope to make two 100 gm canisters last the JMT, starting with one and buying another at MTR. Might take some tabs along as well just in case!