"They prohibit all backcountry fires now, as far as I know. (http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-guidelines-and-regulations.htm).
On the bulleted list of prohibited items, it just says "Fire (stoves okay)." Reading the surrounding text, it seems they chalk this up to following LNT principles."
The way I read that, a wood "stove" would be fine, and the burden of proof is on the ranger to prove it isn't a stove.
"I definitely think that twig stoves should be allowed if collecting dead/down wood in low elevation areas. At high elevation, hikers should be able to carry in their own bundle of twigs/pellets and burn those. I'd even find it reasonable to allow small fires like the UCO fire bowl with twigs or charcoal so long as the hiker is packing in their own fuel, and not collecting fuel in fragile areas."
I agree, problem is, as with all laws and rules, they have to account for the lowest common denominator. Of course they could do like Yosemite and give you a lecture when you pick up you permit, and give heavy fines to anyone caught harvesting above 9,000ft.
"I find that small fires are part of backcountry cultural heritage, and think that experienced hikers making personal-sized fires should be respected allowed to do so. Of course I understand the arguments about inexperienced parties making overly large fires and sourcing fuel from fragile areas, or worse, live trees, but I don't think that these risks outweigh the benefits to responsible hikers, especially deep in the backcountry."
I whole heartedly agree. I think, with all things, education and punishment for causing harm would be more effective than outright bans, and doesn't punish responsible people.