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Re: [John Muir Trail] Small fires in the wilderness

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  • John
    In regards to why the identified person has not been charged or at least cited yet, here s something to ponder: As stated in a previous email and I m sure
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 9, 2013
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      In regards to why the identified person has not been charged or at least cited yet, here's something to ponder:

      As stated in a previous email and I'm sure multiple press releases, this is still an open and on-going investigation.  If the person who started the fire was prematurely cited for the illegal fire and he/she immediately pled guilty to that lesser charge (infraction or misdemeanor perhaps), case law might prohibit the prosecuting agency from pursuing greater (felony)  charges in the future should more criminal culpability be discovered during the follow-up investigation.   

      This is most commonly referred to as "double jeopardy", where absent special circumstances, one cannot stand trial for the same "crime" twice.  If he/she were to plead guilty in the original citation, it would most likely close and lock the prosecutor's door.

      Be patient...

      Thank you and I'll step down from my soapbox now so as not to fuel this tangent discussion any further than it needs to go ;)

      John M.

       
      On Sep 9, 2013, at 11:23 AM, casey wrote:

       



      I believe if you check your calender you will find it was opening weekend of deer season for bow hunting. Also squirrel season was open.

      As I understand the local press releases, the hunter was identified and interviewed by authorities about two days after the fire began. The investigation is still open. It was the fire chief of Twain Harte that made the statement that it was an illegal marijuana grow without any evidence and while the investigation was still ongoing.

      Why the person has not been identified and charged or at least cited for an illegal campfire no one quite understands.


    • gkahn21
      I don t think you can frame this conversation in the context of small campfires. You can either allow campfires or ban them. A regulation to allow only small
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 9, 2013
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        I don't think you can frame this conversation in the context of small campfires. You can either allow campfires or ban them. A regulation to allow only 'small' campfires would be impossible to enforce as everyone's definition of 'small' would vary widely. In the larger sense, while what 'you' may do is very low impact, you are not the only one out there. In other words, you can’t only include the lowest impact users, you have to include high impacts users as well.


        Second, while fire is a natural process in wilderness, campfires are not. Campfires are localized typically in a small oval made up of rocks with many repeated fires in them. This is far different than natural fires. Some of the impacts of campfires are: "Fire site proliferation; overbuilt fire sites and associated seating arrangements; fuel wood depletion; sterilized soils; charred rocks and tree roots; ash and charcoal buildup; semimelted plastic, glass and metal trash; chemical contamination of soils; unburned food, which attracts wildlife; tree damage and felling; and vegetation trampling associated with firewood collection" Source: Reid, S. E., & Marion, J. L. (2005). A comparison of campfire impacts and policies in seven protected areas. Environmental Management, 36(1), 48-58. (with the quoted text referencing many other papers)


        As for a discussion as to should they be allowed, I would concentrate on necessity and impacts. Since the advent of portable gas stoves in the 1960’s, the vast majority of backpackers now do not use a campfire for cooking their food and mainly have campfires for ambiance and experiential purposes. Obviously the desire to have campfires is still strong, but for different reasons than in the past. As for impacts, campfires have many direct and indirect impacts, as noted above.


        People love having fires in the backcountry but they create many impacts. Obviously we allow activities in wilderness that create impacts, like backpacking on the JMT that we love so we can’t just ban everything that isn’t necessary, but that has to be balanced out by the impacts they create.



        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

        Hi Larry,
        Just curious - are you limiting the question to just the JMT or wilderness in general? I ask because I feel there could be a difference in population visiting, available resources, services, etc. and some might really be off the grid or near a high-traveled trail.
        I am one that prefers to take a stove whenever possible and I usually do not build a campfire of any size. I’m not opposed to them, I just like stoves. I’ve certainly have had campfires and love them for the warmth, genuine good feelings felt, cooking, camaraderie at the end of a day, etc. Admittedly, I’ve not had one on the JMT/Yosemite area. If we exclude areas where laws prohibit them and natural environments where they are dangerous or resources scarce, then I think they are a valid and nice option for some.
         
        I too, except for the bonfire in the desert, am like you in that if I build a campfire, I keep them small and use small diameter sticks when I can. I’ve been to areas however, where the available downed wood has been collected and the only fuel available (other than grasses) are the remnants of barkless, branchless, tree trunks. I wouldn’t want to start a fire in those (whole) for fear that I might miss getting it completely out and leave a smoldering ember somewhere in the log. 
         
        As you say, fire is a natural healthy process in the wilderness, but in the case of these small (Indian) campfires, I think they really do not have any impact in the overall health of the wilderness.
        Mike
         
        Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2013 5:48 PM
        Subject: [John Muir Trail] Small fires in the wilderness
         

        I realize fires of any kind are forbidden this year due to fire danger but I have heard that many purists believe fires should be restricted all of the time. If anyone has an opinion on this, I'd be interested in hearing why? (or why not?)
      • Larry Beck
        Finally, someone who stuck to the topic! Well said gkahn21! Larry ________________________________ From: gkahn21 To:
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 9, 2013
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          Finally, someone who stuck to the topic! Well said gkahn21!
           
          Larry
          From: gkahn21 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
          To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, September 9, 2013 2:50 PM
          Subject: [John Muir Trail] RE: Re: Small fires in the wilderness
           
          I don't think you can frame this conversation in the context of small campfires. You can either allow campfires or ban them. A regulation to allow only 'small' campfires would be impossible to enforce as everyone's definition of 'small' would vary widely. In the larger sense, while what 'you' may do is very low impact, you are not the only one out there. In other words, you can’t only include the lowest impact users, you have to include high impacts users as well.

          Second, while fire is a natural process in wilderness, campfires are not. Campfires are localized typically in a small oval made up of rocks with many repeated fires in them. This is far different than natural fires. Some of the impacts of campfires are: "Fire site proliferation; overbuilt fire sites and associated seating arrangements; fuel wood depletion; sterilized soils; charred rocks and tree roots; ash and charcoal buildup; semimelted plastic, glass and metal trash; chemical contamination of soils; unburned food, which attracts wildlife; tree damage and felling; and vegetation trampling associated with firewood collection" Source: Reid, S. E., & Marion, J. L. (2005). A comparison of campfire impacts and policies in seven protected areas. Environmental Management, 36(1), 48-58. (with the quoted text referencing many other papers)

          As for a discussion as to should they be allowed, I would concentrate on necessity and impacts. Since the advent of portable gas stoves in the 1960’s, the vast majority of backpackers now do not use a campfire for cooking their food and mainly have campfires for ambiance and experiential purposes. Obviously the desire to have campfires is still strong, but for different reasons than in the past. As for impacts, campfires have many direct and indirect impacts, as noted above.

          People love having fires in the backcountry but they create many impacts. Obviously we allow activities in wilderness that create impacts, like backpacking on the JMT that we love so we can’t just ban everything that isn’t necessary, but that has to be balanced out by the impacts they create.
          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
          Hi Larry,
          Just curious - are you limiting the question to just the JMT or wilderness in general? I ask because I feel there could be a difference in population visiting, available resources, services, etc. and some might really be off the grid or near a high-traveled trail.
          I am one that prefers to take a stove whenever possible and I usually do not build a campfire of any size. Iâm not opposed to them, I just like stoves. Iâve certainly have had campfires and love them for the warmth, genuine good feelings felt, cooking, camaraderie at the end of a day, etc. Admittedly, Iâve not had one on the JMT/Yosemite area. If we exclude areas where laws prohibit them and natural environments where they are dangerous or resources scarce, then I think they are a valid and nice option for some.
           
          I too, except for the bonfire in the desert, am like you in that if I build a campfire, I keep them small and use small diameter sticks when I can. Iâve been to areas however, where the available downed wood has been collected and the only fuel available (other than grasses) are the remnants of barkless, branchless, tree trunks. I wouldnât want to start a fire in those (whole) for fear that I might miss getting it completely out and leave a smoldering ember somewhere in the log. 
           
          As you say, fire is a natural healthy process in the wilderness, but in the case of these small (Indian) campfires, I think they really do not have any impact in the overall health of the wilderness.
          Mike
           
          Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2013 5:48 PM
          Subject: [John Muir Trail] Small fires in the wilderness
           
          I realize fires of any kind are forbidden this year due to fire danger but I have heard that many purists believe fires should be restricted all of the time. If anyone has an opinion on this, I'd be interested in hearing why? (or why not?)
        • Mike Mosack
          I believe his intent was to describe what he calls an Indian Campfire and not the more common style campfires associated with repeated sites being used almost
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 9, 2013
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            I believe his intent was to describe what he calls an Indian Campfire and not the more common style campfires associated with repeated sites being used almost constantly in public/popular campsites. A small fire in a well positioned and remote hole – while it does have an impact – is vastly minimal to that of a standard campfire ring used over and over and is routinely burning for hours at a time and is well described by gkahn21 below. A small fire for a short time in an isolated area is, to me, not on the same level. I agree with virtually everything else described however.
            Mike
             
            Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 9:41 PM
            Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] RE: Re: Small fires in the wilderness
             
             

            Finally, someone who stuck to the topic! Well said gkahn21!
             
            Larry
            From: gkahn21 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
            To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, September 9, 2013 2:50 PM
            Subject: [John Muir Trail] RE: Re: Small fires in the wilderness
             
            I don't think you can frame this conversation in the context of small campfires. You can either allow campfires or ban them. A regulation to allow only 'small' campfires would be impossible to enforce as everyone's definition of 'small' would vary widely. In the larger sense, while what 'you' may do is very low impact, you are not the only one out there. In other words, you can’t only include the lowest impact users, you have to include high impacts users as well.
             
            Second, while fire is a natural process in wilderness, campfires are not. Campfires are localized typically in a small oval made up of rocks with many repeated fires in them. This is far different than natural fires. Some of the impacts of campfires are: "Fire site proliferation; overbuilt fire sites and associated seating arrangements; fuel wood depletion; sterilized soils; charred rocks and tree roots; ash and charcoal buildup; semimelted plastic, glass and metal trash; chemical contamination of soils; unburned food, which attracts wildlife; tree damage and felling; and vegetation trampling associated with firewood collection" Source: Reid, S. E., & Marion, J. L. (2005). A comparison of campfire impacts and policies in seven protected areas. Environmental Management, 36(1), 48-58. (with the quoted text referencing many other papers)

            As for a discussion as to should they be allowed, I would concentrate on necessity and impacts. Since the advent of portable gas stoves in the 1960’s, the vast majority of backpackers now do not use a campfire for cooking their food and mainly have campfires for ambiance and experiential purposes. Obviously the desire to have campfires is still strong, but for different reasons than in the past. As for impacts, campfires have many direct and indirect impacts, as noted above.

            People love having fires in the backcountry but they create many impacts. Obviously we allow activities in wilderness that create impacts, like backpacking on the JMT that we love so we can’t just ban everything that isn’t necessary, but that has to be balanced out by the impacts they create.
            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
          • Larry Beck
            That s exactly the correct description of a Little Indian Campfire. I also think it s important to not leave any trace though so the next person coming along
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 11, 2013
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              That's exactly the correct description of a Little Indian Campfire. I also think it's important to not leave any trace though so the next person coming along will not think of it as a regular campfire spot. Of course the ranger's do say to confine fires to existing fire rings though.
               
              Given those parameters, I can't see how a little fire of this type would have any significant impact. Does collecting the small, dead wood have a negative impact though?
               
              From: Mike Mosack <mosack@...>
              To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, September 9, 2013 11:38 PM
              Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] RE: Re: Small fires in the wilderness
               
              I believe his intent was to describe what he calls an Indian Campfire and not the more common style campfires associated with repeated sites being used almost constantly in public/popular campsites. A small fire in a well positioned and remote hole – while it does have an impact – is vastly minimal to that of a standard campfire ring used over and over and is routinely burning for hours at a time and is well described by gkahn21 below. A small fire for a short time in an isolated area is, to me, not on the same level. I agree with virtually everything else described however.
              Mike
               
              Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 9:41 PM
              Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] RE: Re: Small fires in the wilderness
               
               
              Finally, someone who stuck to the topic! Well said gkahn21!
               
              Larry
              From: gkahn21 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
              To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, September 9, 2013 2:50 PM
              Subject: [John Muir Trail] RE: Re: Small fires in the wilderness
               
              I don't think you can frame this conversation in the context of small campfires. You can either allow campfires or ban them. A regulation to allow only 'small' campfires would be impossible to enforce as everyone's definition of 'small' would vary widely. In the larger sense, while what 'you' may do is very low impact, you are not the only one out there. In other words, you can’t only include the lowest impact users, you have to include high impacts users as well.
               
              Second, while fire is a natural process in wilderness, campfires are not. Campfires are localized typically in a small oval made up of rocks with many repeated fires in them. This is far different than natural fires. Some of the impacts of campfires are: "Fire site proliferation; overbuilt fire sites and associated seating arrangements; fuel wood depletion; sterilized soils; charred rocks and tree roots; ash and charcoal buildup; semimelted plastic, glass and metal trash; chemical contamination of soils; unburned food, which attracts wildlife; tree damage and felling; and vegetation trampling associated with firewood collection" Source: Reid, S. E., & Marion, J. L. (2005). A comparison of campfire impacts and policies in seven protected areas. Environmental Management, 36(1), 48-58. (with the quoted text referencing many other papers)

              As for a discussion as to should they be allowed, I would concentrate on necessity and impacts. Since the advent of portable gas stoves in the 1960’s, the vast majority of backpackers now do not use a campfire for cooking their food and mainly have campfires for ambiance and experiential purposes. Obviously the desire to have campfires is still strong, but for different reasons than in the past. As for impacts, campfires have many direct and indirect impacts, as noted above.

              People love having fires in the backcountry but they create many impacts. Obviously we allow activities in wilderness that create impacts, like backpacking on the JMT that we love so we can’t just ban everything that isn’t necessary, but that has to be balanced out by the impacts they create.
              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
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