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Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 10:13:41 MDT Print View

For the last few months, I have been in contact with several agencies regarding the use of alcohol stoves in the wilderness. This is the latest update from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California.

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On July 1, 2013, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' instituted Stage 2 Fire Restriction. Stage 2 Fire Restriction prohibited campfires throughout the wilderness and stated that "gas or propane stoves may be used at all elevations."

On July 11th, Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks' superintendent concurred with a recommendation from fire staff that the Stage 2 Fire Restriction is clarified to include the prohibition of alcohol-fueled stoves. This is consistent with the alcohol-fueled stove prohibition currently in place in the surrounding Inyo, Sierra, Stanislaus, and Sequoia National Forests. Due to the lack of a shutoff valve, there is concern about additional fire hazard associated with these stoves.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Mutch
Acting Fire Education Specialist
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Hwy
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Ph: 559-565-3703

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Be safe out there - Jon

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 10:43:29 MDT Print View

Jon, on July 8th, I spoke to a couple of backpackers who were heading into the Inyo National Forest with a Mount Whitney permit. I asked them what they were using for a stove, and one replied "Bob Cat Stove." I had heard of these fine products, but I had never held one in my hands. The one showed me the stove with a purple bottle of fuel. I asked what kind of fuel it was, assuming that it was some variation of denatured alcohol. He assured me that it was not alcohol, but he didn't know what it was exactly. I suspect that they finished their trip by the 11th. Otherwise, the order of the 11th would have affected them.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 10:53:28 MDT Print View

What would happen if you just used alcohol stove carefully and didn't cause any problems

Would a ranger ever notice?

If he did, would he fine you or anything?

You could just plead ignorance

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 11:24:39 MDT Print View

Jerry, excellent questions.

First of all, wilderness rangers roam around the Mount Whitney Trail where these two guys were going to be, and they specifically roam around at Trail Camp where most people spend the night. If you have a tent erected and are sitting there, then the ranger might wander up and ask about your stove (whether it is right or wrong). If you suspected that your stove was wrong, you might need to keep it under wraps except for cooking.

Now, Trail Camp is a pretty bleak place. It is far above timberline, and there isn't much of anything that would burn up there. However, rules are rules. I think maybe if you tried to plead ignorance, a nice ranger would simply give you a warning. If you gave him a hard time about it, he could issue a citation or escort you out. Those are kind of unlikely, but possible. That's why they normally ask to see your permit first, since it has all of your identification on it.

I had heard about the approaching fire restrictions, and I was thinking of going backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. When I packed my backpack at home, I specifically shifted over from Esbit to Butane, just to avoid some possible hassle like that. I'll probably stick with Butane until I hear that the fire restrictions have passed.

--B.G.--

Chad B
(CenAZwalker) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 11:45:02 MDT Print View

I would just follow the rules or stay home. They are in place for a reason.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 12:17:30 MDT Print View

"I would just follow the rules or stay home."

Exactly, but it gets more complicated when you pack up at home with a legal stove, and then the Forest Service changes the rules.

I guess that if you start your trip with a legal stove, then if the rules change and you have an illegal stove, the ranger is likely to let it slide. But, you would have to ask the Forest Service office how that works.

I guess that makes it smarter to have a flexible fuel cooking system so that you can shift from one fuel to another as conditions or rules change.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 12:44:30 MDT Print View

"I would just follow the rules or stay home. They are in place for a reason."

rules, shmools...

rules are made to be broken

if there are fires caused by alcohol stoves, then there should be rules against.

if you are using an alcohol stove in a manner that has no chance of causing a wildfire, then you shouldn't feel bad about doing so. If your behavior influenced someone else to use an alcohol stove irresponsibily, then not so good. If some ranger hassles you, then maybe it's not worth it.

The goal should be to preserve the wilderness.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 19:05:38 MDT Print View

> rules are made to be broken
"The rules don't apply to me"...
I am going to stick my neck out here and suggest it is PRECISELY that attitude which starts so many wildfires.

Strangely, one usually finds that more experienced walkers are the ones who do obey the rules.

Cheers

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 19:10:29 MDT Print View

Don't trust anyone over 60. They think they know everything,

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 19:16:17 MDT Print View

They don't?

I thought they know everything, and what they don't know isn't important :)

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
stoves on 07/13/2013 19:44:11 MDT Print View

I was on my soapbox in a previous thread, so I'll keep it short.

if there is a question of the legality of a stove, is it really such a big deal to take a canister stove (or go stoveless)?

With fines up to $3k dollars, I really don't want to leave my financial stability up to a ranger or ranger's office interpenetration of current fire regs. :)

Edited by PaulMags on 07/13/2013 19:45:00 MDT.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Backpacking Stewardship on 07/13/2013 20:03:41 MDT Print View

Well, as an alcohol stove manufacture, I am adamant that will follow the rules and regulations. I have a trip planned this summer to hike from Onion Valley to Whitney to Horseshoe meadow. I was planning this trip around testing a bunch of new products and one of my goals was to dry bake a loaf of bread on Whitney. Due to the ban, I will be taking my canister stove.
Given the assumption that members of Backpackinglight represent some of the most knowledgeable, careful and best prepared backpackers, I would have thought that this would be the first group to support these rules and regulations. I would hope that experienced and knowledgeable backpackers would be good stewards in the wilderness. I have read discussions where some of you have dismantle inappropriate fire rings and campsites. I think that this is great. Some of you have also taken the time to discuss inappropriate practices (not packing out toilet paper, burning trash, the proper use of soap in the woods). All of these things support LNT and safety. With respect to the current ban on alcohol stoves, how is this any different? My 2 Cents - Jon

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 20:31:48 MDT Print View

"> rules are made to be broken
"The rules don't apply to me"...
I am going to stick my neck out here and suggest it is PRECISELY that attitude which starts so many wildfires"

I think so many wildfires are caused by campfires, the ones that aren't caused by lightning. Or machines or fireworks or ...

It just seems to me that alcohol stoves aren't that dangerous - a metal bowl contains the burning material and when it's done, there aren't any embers or anything. I've only used them on my patio so maybe I'm not seeing something.

If there have been actual wildfires caused by alcohol stoves then I'de change my opinion.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Re: Re: Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 20:40:35 MDT Print View

Well, The Hewlett Fire in CO was caused by a backpacker using an alcohol stove without a fire permit. Agreed, he wasn't very smart or capable but that is why these regulations are in place, they reduce the probability of an accident getting amplified due to extreme environmental conditions. That fire burn just under 10,000 acres. My 2 cents - Jon

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Locale: www.bplite.com
contact with several agencies on 07/13/2013 20:47:50 MDT Print View

Are you trying to have the rules changed?

BJ Clark
(bj.clark) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Hewlett fire, May 2012 and an alcohol stove on 07/13/2013 20:47:53 MDT Print View

Jon,
You beat me to it! Even before the bans I had gone to a Clikstand stove as it was more stable. Now using a Kovea Spyder canister stove. I don't want to be that guy! Next on my list, stoveless per Paul's thoughts.

Edited by bj.clark on 07/13/2013 20:49:46 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 20:57:39 MDT Print View

"Don't trust anyone over 60. They think they know everything,"

But Nick is over 60, and he does know everything.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Hewlett fire, May 2012 and an alcohol stove on 07/13/2013 20:57:45 MDT Print View

Okay, maybe alcohol stoves are more dangerous than I thought, I've only used them on my patio

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 21:46:32 MDT Print View

Are these restrictions in place everywhere in the parks? I thought fire restrictions based of wildfire danger didn't matter above a certain elevation when everything becomes rocky/granity and it's literally impossible to start a wildfire.
I went up to Mineral King during extreme fire danger and we were allowed to have wood fires above a certain elevation (I think it was between 8,000 and 10,400 feet.)

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Alcohol stoves and fire restriction in Sequia and Kings Canyon National Parks on 07/13/2013 22:04:40 MDT Print View

I think its the idiots they want to protect the forest from, so all of us have to pay.
A couple years ago when I did the Rae Lakes Loop but over Kearsarge Pass, at Lower Paradise Valley CG, some youths had a campfire, still around it when I made camp early afternoon. When they finally left, they still had a chunk of firewood in the pit, smoking away. I dumped some water on it as they had made no attempt to put their fire out. Those are the people who are dangerous. I live in the mountains, please take care of my home.
Duane