Campfires have always been an important part of Scout camping. A fire can warm you, cook your meals, and dry out your clothes. Bright flames lift your spirits on a rainy morning. On a starry night, glowing embers stir your imagination. The smell of campfire smoke and the crackle of burning wood are among the best memories of adventures gone by.
A good Scout knows how to build a fire. He also knows when he should not build one. Campfires can char the ground. Fires consume dead branches, bark, and other organic material that would have provided shelter and food for animals and plants. In the days when not many people went camping there weren't enough fires to cause problems. But today, hiking and camping are popular activities. Hundreds of fires can have a serious impact on the well-being of the backcountry.
Before a campout, learn whether campfires are allowed in the area you plan to visit. Find out if there will be enough firewood. You may need permits to build fires in public parks and forests. Your Scoutmaster will help you get the permission you need.
If fires are not allowed, you can still go camping. Backpacking stoves are lightweight, easy to use, and clean. Properly handled, they are a good alternative to campfires.