[pct-l] Campfires

marmot marmot marmotwestvanc at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 17 16:08:58 CST 2018

Now that it is so obvious what can happen, I want to remind the class of 2019 that we do not make fires on the PCT. The Calif fire permit simply allows a hiker to use a backcountry camping stove and in very limited situations have a campfire.  As someone who has put out campfires (on numerous trails)after people have walked away ,thinking they were out, I'm asking you to make a choice to be adult and responsible. People from other parts of the country and world show up on this trail not understanding the ecosystem and imagine that they can build a fire each night as a emotional comfort/cooking unit/source of Somemores. That isn't true. We have high winds,volatile chapparal and small campsites. Many inexperienced hikers start the PCT. Many hikers don't even know how to use their equipment--eg --put up their tents so that they don't blow over in a wind. That's fine. You will learn.  But, please do not make fires. You are not backpacking.  Or at summer camp   You are long distance hiking. There is a lot to learn. And if I hear one more time how we need fire so that the forest 
regenerates. .............That is misunderstanding the chapparal ecosystem. Having hiked the trail at this point 2 1/3 times it makes me so sad to see the areas of the trail that used to have water and shade turned into permanent grasslands because they were burned so completely at very high heat and the climate has changed enough that there will never be enough water to regrow the big trees. We now get enough water to grow crops of fast burning grass and low brush and bumper crops of poodledog bush. It takes about 5 years for the poodledog to cycle out to more mature growth after a fire. 
The Woolsey fire burned 83% of the National Forest Land in the Santa Monica mtns. It's a similar ecosystem. No one knows yet what started that fire. Let's not have PCT hikers add to the threat and the problem. Please get warm in your sleeping bag and your tent and get emotional support from your hiker friends not from a campfire. I have no idea how many animals died in addition to the human deaths in these last fires.  We will never know. At one point people burned or buried their camping trash. Who would even think of doing that now?  Each year there are people in their blogs talking about having a fire each night and how good it makes them feel. I hope that this year that stops 
Thank you

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