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Thread: Campfire rules?

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    Campfire rules?

    On our camp this weekend, we intend having a campfire.
    Searching through POR for the term "fire" just shows "firearms" - I can't seem to find any rules specific to fires.

    My reason for asking is this:

    After dinner, we are going for an evening/night hike. I'm thinking of lighting the fire in the afternoon perhaps around dinnertime so that it has chance to burn down to embers in time for us returning from our hike so that the Cubs can toast their dough twists on the fire. I have another adult coming onsite ahead of our return in order to prepare hot chocolates.

    Is it ok to leave a lit fire unattended between the time we set off for the hike and the time that the adult arrives on site - probably for about an hour - or is this a no-no? I should add that the site is within the grounds of our scouting hut so there should, in theory, not be anyone near the fire while we are away - can't guarantee that no one would jump over the wall though.
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eskibrew View Post
    On our camp this weekend, we intend having a campfire.
    Searching through POR for the term "fire" just shows "firearms" - I can't seem to find any rules specific to fires.

    My reason for asking is this:

    After dinner, we are going for an evening/night hike. I'm thinking of lighting the fire in the afternoon perhaps around dinnertime so that it has chance to burn down to embers in time for us returning from our hike so that the Cubs can toast their dough twists on the fire. I have another adult coming onsite ahead of our return in order to prepare hot chocolates.

    Is it ok to leave a lit fire unattended between the time we set off for the hike and the time that the adult arrives on site - probably for about an hour - or is this a no-no? I should add that the site is within the grounds of our scouting hut so there should, in theory, not be anyone near the fire while we are away - can't guarantee that no one would jump over the wall though.
    There are no rules relating to fires (thankfully!)

    What you need to do is conduct a mental risk assessment and use common sense (something which, sadly, Scouting seems to discourage a lot of the time by imposing needless rules)

    We often leave fires burning "unattended" at our local campsite - the campfire circle is well away from any buildings. My concern with a fire in a built up area, at a Scout hut would be:

    - Is it far enough away from buildings/fences/trees to avoid the risk of spreading
    - Is there a risk of vandals "transferring" the fire to your building?
    - is there a risk of trespassers harming themselves?

    Is there perhaps a parent or exec member who could come and light the fire and supervise it while you are out? If you were in a field I wouldn't worry about it, but in your scout hall grounds I dont know whether the risk would be acceptable.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Scout Leader (Bosun) Nick's Avatar
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    I think I would be more worried about a "helpful person" phoning the fire brigade and reporting an out of control fire! With all the red faces and explaining that involves.

    Probably best to leave someone around.

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    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    There are no rules relating to fires (thankfully!)
    Wow - that's surprising...

    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    Is there perhaps a parent or exec member who could come and light the fire and supervise it while you are out? If you were in a field I wouldn't worry about it, but in your scout hall grounds I dont know whether the risk would be acceptable.
    Yes there is but there will be the gap between us leaving and them arriving. For the short period, I think it will be fine. Based on your risk thoughts, the only likely risk is that a tresspasser might injure themselves but even that seems unlikely.
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    And also, we are getting to the time of year where the grass dries out and will burn readily.

    I may leave a small fire unattended, if it was obviously contained in a fire circle, I would leave a load of embers unattended. I probably wouldn't light any fire and then go for a walk while it burns up and down again.

    On summer camp, the fire is lit in the morning, or restarted from the overnight log/embers, it will be left to burn down before activities, then maybe a log put on to keep it going. At night, I'd wait until we had embers, or the overnight log was on, before going to bed. I.e. the fire is small and controlled. At the local campsite, we might have a "campfire", and the explorers will bung a load of fence panels and pallets on there. By the time we go home, there's embers, and a few pallet corners, if it's not high summer, we'd leave it and go home.

    Now, we had an aussie Explorer scout with us for six months or so, who found this practice terrifying, all fires there had to be relatively small, and they had to have two full large barrels of water on standby that could be tipped over onto the fire. Similarly, the Portuguese we met last summer only had very small fires - I think they may enjoy coming to Broadstone Warren with us this summer. In both cases, the risk is much higher of a serious conflagration if things get out of hand.

    Anyway, I've rambled on enough, as recneps says, you risk assess it. I bet there's a dad willing to poke the fire for an hour or so.

    Oh, and that's just a fire you're having, at a camp, it's not a campfire unless you're around it having a sing-song.

    Ian
    Ian Wilkins
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    Senior Member roger-uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    And also, we are getting to the time of year where the grass dries out and will burn readily.

    I may leave a small fire unattended, if it was obviously contained in a fire circle, I would leave a load of embers unattended. I probably wouldn't light any fire and then go for a walk while it burns up and down again.

    On summer camp, the fire is lit in the morning, or restarted from the overnight log/embers, it will be left to burn down before activities, then maybe a log put on to keep it going. At night, I'd wait until we had embers, or the overnight log was on, before going to bed. I.e. the fire is small and controlled. At the local campsite, we might have a "campfire", and the explorers will bung a load of fence panels and pallets on there. By the time we go home, there's embers, and a few pallet corners, if it's not high summer, we'd leave it and go home.

    Now, we had an aussie Explorer scout with us for six months or so, who found this practice terrifying, all fires there had to be relatively small, and they had to have two full large barrels of water on standby that could be tipped over onto the fire. Similarly, the Portuguese we met last summer only had very small fires - I think they may enjoy coming to Broadstone Warren with us this summer. In both cases, the risk is much higher of a serious conflagration if things get out of hand.

    Anyway, I've rambled on enough, as recneps says, you risk assess it. I bet there's a dad willing to poke the fire for an hour or so.

    Oh, and that's just a fire you're having, at a camp, it's not a campfire unless you're around it having a sing-song.

    Ian
    Ian

    There was a series on about Ozzie bush fires and after watching that you can understand. Eucalyptus forests in the dry season will actually spontaneously combust. Quite horrifying to watch
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    Senior Member Walsallwizard's Avatar
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    In my experience some people lose whatever brain cells they have left when it comes to a camp fire, the last one I was at everyone kept getting showered with sparks as some fool kept throwing gorse bush on the fire. We had to wet tents down, get a hose on the grass and move the participants; even after giving the fool a roasting (get the pun) he wanted to put more wood on the fire!

    As other have said, risk assess what you are going to do, leaving embers is safer than leaving a fire but would be better and safer imho to not leave either
    Richard Fenton
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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    You must be going for a very short hike or building a very big fire. Most campfires in my experience include the lighting of the fire, have it blazing for a bit and then allow the fire to burn down low towards the end of the campfire, all of which can be achieved within an hour or so if you build the right sized fire in the first place. You do not usually just sit around a pile of glowing embers.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    There is a rule... never leave a campfire unattended...

    There is also a matter of, in case you hadn't guessed, duty of care.

    You leave a fire unattended, little Jimmy wanders into the field, sees the fire, which he has no experience of at home, starts playing around, gets burnt. Instant litigation coming your way.
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member Steve27752's Avatar
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    It is totally irresponsible to leave any camp fire unattended.

    .........................1st Ascot (All Saints)........................
    ..................................Baloo........... .........................

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    Senior Member BalooNav's Avatar
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    I've had to put an unattended fire out at a scout centre. Fire was left unattended with some chairs next to it which were smouldering. Just a few feet behind the chairs was the tent. Turns out it was a couple of leaders down for a recce. They had wandered off to explore the site and watch the sunset! Simple rule, don't leave a fire unattanded.

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    Senior Member DonTregartha's Avatar
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    Your fire could burn down to embers in the time you got the cubs counted in, sorted out and making dough.

    I regularly pop along set a fire for the Beaver team and we get cooking and cleared up in the hour and a quarter they have for the meeting.

    Either that or get your early doors person to light it.

    Agree with not having unattended fires that are anything more than embers - if the summer is long and dry, we could have grass/bush fires too.


    Don Tregartha
    Old Scouter
    1st Wing Scouts

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    by a cheap low level bbq and light the fire in that, it cant spread and its off the floor.

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