Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Campfire Alternatives - When you feel that burning desire, but...

Summer's here! Ready to create some memories of camping, roasting hot dogs, munching on s'mores and gathering around the campfire.

You feel that burning desire, but...

What! There's a fire burn ban! No campfire!

With many wilderness areas experiencing dry conditions and prime conditions for forest fires; some national, state and municipal parks have fire burn bans in effect during the summer months.

Here are some tips and alternatives when it is not possible to have a traditional campfire.

1. Prevent forest fires. Smokey Bear is 70 years old and still spreading the word about fire safety. There are fire burn bans for a reason. In recent years we've seen massive forest fires devastate wilderness areas as well as some towns. Take Smokey's advice, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

2. Go for a night hike and star party. Plan your hike in advance. Take a flashlight or headlamp (a light with a red light feature is even better). Use a navigational device like a GPS or navigation app to find your way. Carry a jacket or blanket because even in the summer, the temperature can drop at night. Bring a star finder chart or star app and gaze up into the night sky.

3. Hang fairy lights. Bring along a set of fairy lights and a portable power bank. Hang the lights in the trees. Place them around your tent. Or wrap them around some wood and create a simulated campfire. You might even try wrapping them around a water bottle to create a makeshift lantern.

4. Pass out glow sticks and bracelets. Kids of all ages love glow sticks and bracelets. As the sun sets and the moon rises, pass out some sticks and bracelets and let the fun begin.

5. Assemble a faux candle campfire. Have you even walked into a romantic restaurant and admired a display of flickering candles, only to discover that the candles were actually faux candles? Don't be afraid to go faux. Assemble a grouping of faux tea candles to make a fanciful flickering campfire.

6. Try a portable propane campfire pit. Although many parks ban traditional campfires during the dry summer  months, many of those same places allow propane campfire pits. Always check with the ranger station or park host to make sure that propane campfire pits are allowed. The Outland or Camp Chef propane campfire pits are highly rated.

Don't let a fire burn ban ruin your summer memories. Get out, go camping... and instead of a traditional campfire try some of these clever alternatives.

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