Fires and rocks

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Fires and rocks

Postby Pauly » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:12 pm

Hi all

Can anybody explain to me why people put rocks around their camp fires?

I find them a pain in the but and the river rocks are dangerous as well. I am sure the rangers who mow the camp sites must hate them as well
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Postby Fonty » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:32 pm

I always put rocks around my fires. I have read that it offers no protection from spreading fires but as my fires have never spread the evidence is rather against people who claim that. :armsup I do it for several reasons, first it does provide a boundary for the fire that's easily seen. With kids around especially that's important. I'll usually dig at least a little pit for the fire too and a pit that you can just walk into with no obstacles in front of it would just be asking for an accident with some kids. It provides a barrier and if you can find at least one flat one a space for your pan when it's not on the coals themselves. I don't bring a camp kitchen with me I just make do with local materials.

As for the downsides you mentioned.. I don't usually camp where rangers are likely to come along and mow the front lawn of my campsite. And if river rocks are the only ones available and the odd one explodes it just adds to the ambience.

And did I mention a camp fire with rocks around it looks damn good too?

Does that answer your question? :grin:

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Postby Pauly » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:54 pm

Gives me your view yes.

I remove the rocks from around a campfire when I use it, I try to always use existing fire patches.

Have you ever considered the rocks instead of being a barrier could be a trip hazard?

I dont use rocks and my fires dont spread, if it is a new grass area I have a fire I allow a ring to form then it will only go so far.

I cant see how a hot exploding rock in your lap or my kids lap can ad to the ambience.

Every camp site we seen up in the barringtons had rocks around the fire patches, same as in chichester and all these are maintained
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Postby freerocketman1 » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:19 pm

very interesting pauly, up here in qld the ranges put rocks down so that people youse existing fire places that way your not walking over ash & broken glass just to get in your tent. unfortunatly this doesnt allways work. but for all us responsable campers it does make the trip more enjoyable. :grin:
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Postby Pauly » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:53 am

I agree tottally about using existing areas, nothing worse than camp fire spots everywhere, rotten grass dosnt grow.
Dont get me started on glass. I recon, alchohol shouldnt be served in glass. I drink extra dry so Im a bit hypocritical but sheeze, glass dosnt burn people
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Postby Fonty » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:43 am

I tend to think that an obvious ring of rocks is less of a tripping hazard than a firepit without that boundary around it. Especially with kids stumbling around in all sorts of different hours of the day and lighting. Not to mention me stumbling around, and if I was going to fall over a rock I'd be a danger to myself going camping that's for sure.

I wasn't suggesting that rocks really do stop a fire from spreading, the only thing that guarantees that is our vigilance. :) But I never keep red hot rocks in my lap so I've never had one explode there. ;) Rocks on the outside of a fire don't usually get hot enough to explode, or never have on my camping trips. When I was younger I learned that not clearing them out from under the fire before you light it can make for an interesting evening. That is easily avoided though. Nowadays teaching the kids to respect the fire is one of my main considerations when building and lighting it. And I feel much safer with that barrier between the fire and the kids.

Burnt ground is the first thing I look for when I arrive at a campsite and consider how I will shape it. I don't want to pitch my tent on the burnt patch, nor sit on it while I put my firepit in the grass so to me there's no question of where the fire will go. As for glass especially, and any other kind of rubbish people leave behind. grrr. What else can you say?

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Postby Barby-Q » Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:45 am

I've been to places where there has been two or three burnt patches on the grass within 3 metres of each other , Why people can't use existing burnt patches is beyond me . Just last week at Stinsten Park was a good example .
I like having rocks around the fire, somewhere to rest and warm your feet in winter .[/img]
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Postby Art » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:09 pm

I always use rocks, and thought it was to protect from spreading too.

The way a fire is biult with kindling on the bottom and heavy wood on top
leaves nothing to stop the wind blowing ash from underneath if the fire is not in a pit.
A pit also prevents oxygen from reaching the bottom of the fire,
all good for a slow burner, but not so great to get started.
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Postby Komodo » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:20 pm

If there are rocks there already forming a ring I generally will leave them there. Chances are if there has already been a fire there they would have already evaporated water trapped in them any way - and the only times I have had rocks explode at me is when they have been actually IN the fire area and I havent cleared them out.

If there are no rocks around the area I will generally use something to define an area to act as a boundry for the fire as I have been camping several times where the fire "place" has moved / shifted across a fairly large (read 2-3 mtr) area. So now I tend to have smaller / hotter fires rather than large fires. Easier to contain, easier to cook on, less smoke, easier to put out and then relight the next morning etc.

Ive actually found fire wood can actually be more hazardous. Ive had more than a few pieces of wood explode as the sap has been trapped or something - dont really know why or how it happens - but last year we had a fire and a stump that we had bought along with us to burn exploded and part of it travelled about 15 mtrs from the fire - whilst the ranger was sitting at the camp with us! He told us that he has seen it a few times before too.
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Postby Blue Bravo » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:29 pm

I will use whatever has been used previously. If there is a formed fireplace that where the fire goes. If there is a ring of rock, there it goes. If there is nothing but a burnt patch well I'll put it there :)
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