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Camping in California


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2 hours ago, Wandering Sagebrush said:

Don’t forget, if you’re camping in California, it’s almost time to get next year’s free California Fire Permit if you’re planning on having a campfire, or using any type of flame emitting device for outside heat, cooking or light.

Wow, first I’ve heard of this.  Does this include propane grills and fire pits?  Are there other normal human actions that require permitting in California?  Any other states do this?  Mike

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Mike, because of the catastrophic fires we’ve had in the west it’s needed, I’ve had family and friends lose everything because some ass is careless with fire.  I’m surprised more states haven’t implemented similar permitting.  


The permits are free, and it’s a great way to educate the citizenry, and hold idiots accountable.  The permit is required for just about all open flame devices, including lanterns.  Visiting campers on private property are required to have written permission of the owner.

 

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I am not trying to be annoying here but how does this help? I just don’t see how making everyone fill out a form helps stop/slow down wildfires. Maybe an awareness campaign feels like it may help but seems more like a money grab via fines. How many people (in state and especially out of state) know you need a permit to have an outdoor flame? 
 

if you start a wildfire they will try and hold you accountable rather you have a free permit or not. 

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1 hour ago, Zodd said:

I am not trying to be annoying here but how does this help? I just don’t see how making everyone fill out a form helps stop/slow down wildfires. Maybe an awareness campaign feels like it may help but seems more like a money grab via fines. How many people (in state and especially out of state) know you need a permit to have an outdoor flame? 
 

if you start a wildfire they will try and hold you accountable rather you have a free permit or not. 

It’s a bit easier to understand when your friends and family are the people whose lives have been disrupted by a fire… 

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Many of us here were raised and trained to understand and control our campfires. Others, especially new campers cropping up with no training or understanding,  not so much.

This thread reminded me of our experience taking one of our nephews (age 14) on his first extended  camping trip. I showed him how to start and build a safe campfire, with one match. We played with sticks, and magnifying glass as well. I also taught him how to correctly put out said fire, end of day.

One night (perfect conditions scenario, it's our propery, and I take few risks) I showed him how to bank the fire, so we could make an easy start on breakfast, next morning.  

When we restarted that fire in the morning,  with a half sheet of tabloid newspaper and a few twigs, I explained how campfires can unintentionally start wild fires, when folks unintentionally "bank" a fire by not extinguishing it properly,and leave it. He told me then, he'd never forget. I truly think he hasn't. 

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1 hour ago, Wandering Sagebrush said:

It’s a bit easier to understand when your friends and family are the people whose lives have been disrupted by a fire… 

I have friends displaced by the paradise fire so please don’t dismiss the question by just calling ignorance. 

I am not questioning the need for fire safety, but rather how requiring people to fill out a form addresses it. 
 

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8 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Many of us here were raised and trained to understand and control our campfires. Others, especially new campers cropping up with no training or understanding,  not so much.

Many years of Boy Scouting established a deep knowledge of campfires in my brothers and me.  Same for my Eagle Scout son.  Hopefully the California permitting process includes some safety information/training/guidelines.  Mike

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The instructional video on the permit site is pretty good, actually. Good information. 

Since I'm not going camping in California anytime soon, I didn't complete the app to see if you had to even check a box to say you'd watched it. 

If it saves one devastating, probably worth the free application. Awareness is everything.  

Ps, I don't know the stats on careless camper fires. We all know there are many other causes.

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thanks for this reminder. i just went to the website and got the permit. very easy. free. i think it's just a way to remind people of campfire basics. i've seen posters with this info at many campgrounds, but i don't think anyone is really reading those. and i have come into some campsites only to discover a still hot campfire. yikes! 

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The EPA technically classifies wildfires as natural disasters, but the majority of wildfires are anything by naturally-occurring. According to the National Park Service, human-caused wildfires account for around 80 to 90 percent of all reported wildfires. According to the Frontline Wildfire Defense System, most wildfires start because campers have left their campfires unattended. A campfire might be nice, but even one erratic spark on a dry and windy day can lead to widespread destruction. These fires can spread well beyond the campground and have been known to envelop nearby residential areas as well. 

As mentioned above there are other causes but most can still be traced back to human activity. Residential areas can also contain the spark that lights the wildfire. Burning leaves in your backyard, roasting marshmallows over a fire pit, and even lighting up one of those explosive gender reveals can result in wildfires — and widespread destruction. 

Electrical power lines are one of the top-ranking causes of Californian wildfires, according to the Frontline Wildfire Defense System. 10 percent of all wildfires are the result of fallen power lines. While on the East Coast of the U.S., studies by the US Forest Service have shown that wildfire arson is the leading cause of forest fires.

I generally would not find myself agreeing with much of anything California dreams up, but in this case I think it is a great idea that should be adopted in every forested state.

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On 12/17/2023 at 9:25 PM, Zodd said:

seems more like a money grab via fines.

The primary purpose of implementing regulations like this one and pairing them with a fine structure is to encourage compliance with the regulation.   You won’t often find that these systems are put in place to generate revenue.  

The cost of running a fine system includes not only the costs of enforcement, but also the indirect cost of lost productivity (taking employees away from other duties), the cost of prosecuting offenders, the cost of operating a court system and the cost of administering the system (tracking tickets, receiving fine payments, responding to complaints, etc.).   

Despite the above, a well-designed and well-operated system in the right location can generate revenue.  Some cities generate a lot of revenue from illegal parking fines (usually involving cars parked after the time on a parking meter has run out). 

Fortunately for those of us who enjoy the outdoors, the model of installing hundreds of parking meters and deploying a couple of dozen parking officers to write tickets all day long doesn’t travel well.  Trying to duplicate the results of a downtown parking enforcement system by ticketing offenders of the California Fire Permit system out in the country would not be easy.  The officers will have to make in-person contact with a lot of people and that will take a lot more time and effort than finding cars at expired meters.  Many of the people the officers contact will have permits.  Many of those that don't have permits will not have known that there was a permit requirement.  It would be reasonable to give them a warning for their first offence.  What will it do to the image of your park system if you don't at least give one warning to people who just didn't know?  What will it do to the morale of your officers if you direct them not to give warnings?  Trying to convince park rangers or  conservation officers to do enforcement of regulations where the goal appears to be revenue generation is going to be a serious problem.  You can be pretty sure it won’t be a money maker.  

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I went onto the website and watched the video. It was generic but very well done. Anyone who's spent as much time in remote wilderness places as we have know how to build and tend a fire. But it's a good lesson for anyone who wasn't in the Boy or Girl Scouts. I went on and applied for the California Permit. We visit California every year while we are in Quartzsite, but I'm about as likely to build a fire as I am to try to pet a rattlesnake. We really don't like fires mainly because they stink and most campers don't have a clue how to tend one to keep it from being smokey. On a winter's night in the desert it's the perfect time and place for a good ole propane fire-pit in the clam.

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Agree @SomeDaySoon  I agree with most of what has been said. It is my experience that most people causing, or running the risk of causing, are people that just don’t care even though they know the risk (know but just don’t care or appreciate the risk). They fall more into the camp of “it will not happen to me” or the risk is over stated, or “it is just too much work for me tonight” or “I don’t have the extra water to put it out” (because it does take a lot of water. This is why I like propane fires as they go out quickly and don’t demand the water usage to put out.).  I just don’t think these permit/educational videos move the needle with those folks. 

I have been to a few camping sites where they make water and water buckets easily accessible to the campers to help make sure fires get put out. I think initiatives like these help invoke action from people that actually help. I just don’t think lack of education is the main reason people don’t do it. Humans are more complex then that. 

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On 12/19/2023 at 10:44 PM, ScubaRx said:

On a winter's night in the desert it's the perfect time and place for a good ole propane fire-pit in the clam.

Winter in the "Q" - great place for that LPG fire-pit warmed Clam!

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15 hours ago, Zodd said:

...I just don’t think lack of education is the main reason people don’t do it. Humans are more complex then that. 

...It is my experience that most people causing, or running the risk of causing, are people that just don’t care even though they know the risk ...

So, as Jimmy Buffett asked, "Is it ignorance or apathy?"

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