This weekend (July 20th, 2012) there is currently a Fire Ban in many Ontario Provincial Parks – or what the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) calls a “Restricted Fire Zone” – including the big three: Algonquin, Killarney and Temagami. I just got off the phone with a representative from Algonquin Provincial Park to confirm some information and figured I’d share that with you in a quick post. I wanted to confirm whether or not I could bring a wood (stick) burning camp stove instead of gas during a fire ban, but kinda knew what they were going to tell me.
What does a Fire Ban mean?
During a Fire Ban, you are not permitted to have a fire with an open flame. This means no campfires, no wood burning stoves, but allows for gas (Butane, Propane etc.) burning stoves. So whether you’re going into the interior or staying at a campground, make sure to bring the proper stove. The reason for this is because when a Fire Ban is issued, the MNR feels the current heat, lack of humidity and lower water levels creates the threat of a fire spreading, from even the most responsible among us. An open flame tends to float a few still burning particles here and there, which in extreme conditions like these can float into areas that can easily spark into flames (extremely dry piles of wood, grasses, moss, leaves, etc.). Also, campfires that are not completely put out can much more easily catch fire again, and offer obvious dangers there. And to add to that, with the lower levels of water, often it becomes a bit of a challenge having adequate water around in which to extinguish your fire when necessary (especially if it gets a bit out of hand).
Of course the real problem is that if a fire does get out of control, in these conditions it can become a full-on forest fire without much difficulty. I know what you’re thinking, you’re careful, these are really meant to deter the irresponsible, attention-challenged casual campers. But it can happen to the best of us, and I know I for one would feel horribly if I let a fire get out of hand. (I know this guy sure did. This was a tough story to read.)
What about a “Partial” Fire Ban
I’m told a partial fire ban, usually granted to campgrounds as opposed to the interior, is when you are only able to have a campfire between the hours of 7:00 and 10:00 pm. This is good news for the car-campers and especially the kids, because marshmallows can still be had later in the evening.
What kind of stoves can I bring
You should bring with you any type of gas, butane or propane based stoves. Often the car campers call these “Coleman Stoves”. For the interior, any gas based camping stove should do. This does however exclude wood burning camping stoves like the Vital Stove and the new Biolite (which kinda sucks for me because I was really hoping to test some out this weekend).
I know this can be a bit of a pain, especially for some of us responsible, attentive campers. Campfires are one of the best parts about being out in the woods, and it’s a shame when we can’t do this. But I think, if nothing else, it’s important for us to set a really good example. Marshmallows are still okay raw.
I usually check the following websites before I leave on a trip:
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