airstream adventure

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Campfires, Yes or No?

A forum I frequent (Air Forums) brought up an interesting point. An individual posted that they hated campfires, and would actually NOT stay at a state campground due to excessive smoke from other campers.

Now, I believe that individuals can legitimately be allergic to the smoke, and that would definitely be a hinderance. Also, another line of thought is that smoke will eventually get into the fabric of their RV, causing it to, well, smell like smoke. However, I personally do not subscribe to that line of thought for many reasons!

Smoke is good. It will help keep away the nasties flying around waiting for a quick meal.

It also serves as a gathering place for everyone to sit down, relax, and enjoy each other's company. When the campfire is lit, the discussions start. S'mores. And scotch. They taste even better when you dunk 'em.

The problems come from people that were not adequately instructed on starting a campfire, or the 'ancient art' of fire tending.

Here's a couple of things to keep in mind when learning about campfires:

If you don't buy seasoned wood, gather only old stuff you find, preferably if you find it above ground where it's dry. Try to break a stick you think you want to burn. It should give a nice snap when you do. If it doesn't break, or if it bends, it's going to burn very smoky. Also, never try to burn anything with green leaves on it. This is where the term 'green wood' comes from. It's gonna smoke if it's green. Cough cough.

Burning leaves is a no-no. So are styrofoam coolers. You may laugh, but I've seen it happen.

When you've worked the fire up to where it's time to put fuel (the largest type of wood) into the fire, make sure it can handle it. If the fire's not hot enough, it may take some time to get it to it's kindling point, which may make for some smoke, especially if the wood hasn't quite aged enough. Artificial accelerants (meaning gasoline, kerosene, Jack Daniel's, napalm, dynamite...ok, so those last two or three are a little excessive) are generally a bad thing. Ok, it's always a bad thing, unless you are in a survival situation, which you won't be.

So go out an enjoy a relatively smoke-free fire. Get out the drinks, make some s'mores, and don't forget to dunk 'em.

See you on the road!