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Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

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Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby MonGoose » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:56 am

This past Saturday I climbed North Maroon Peak with a handful of people from this website. The majority of the group was driving up early Saturday morning to do a one day trip. Having Friday off work, I drove to the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness Area and backpacked into Crater Lake to spend the night. Since I was alone for the evening, I was a little nervous about camping in an area that had received multiple bear attacks the previous year (including a bear being put down). Upon arriving at the Crater Lake camping area, I located one other group of campers and I asked if I could camp in their vicinity. I knew I would sleep better if I was in yelling distance of another person.

There were two other couples (one from Denver, one from New York) in the campground who had attempted the 4-pass backpacking loop. One member of their party had gotten sick and they were heading back to Denver in the morning. I told them I would be leaving very early and they said they were going to sleep in and head out later. I set up my tent and was in bed by 9:00pm. The next morning I awoke at 4:30am and was on the trail by 5:00 where I met up with MountainMedic and eventually Craig0, Neil and bmcconahey. We had a great climb with excellent weather (trip report is on the way).

Upon returning to Crater Lake in the afternoon after the climb, a Park Ranger came out of the woods and asked if I was camping here. I told him I was and he said "Alright, we need to talk!". As I was following him back to my campsite, I knew something was wrong and I was trying to think of what I had done. My food / trash were hanging in a tree, my campsite was clean, I had done everything by the book. When we walked into the campsite, there was a smoking campfire directly in the middle of the campsite and no sign of the other campers.

"Is this your tent?" asked the Ranger.
"Yes sir", I replied.
"Is this your campfire?", asked the Ranger.
"No Sir!", I replied.

I spent the next 10 minutes explaining to the Ranger that I had camped near people I didn't know, had been on the mountain all day with pictures to prove it (I was still wearing my climbing helmet). The Ranger was a nice guy and eventually he believed me. He asked if I would help him disassemble the fire ring, which was still hot and smoldering. The irony of this story is that I used to be a Park Ranger myself and I'm very anal about following the rules. I don't even feed the marmots and I've never left a fire unattended. I haven't made a fire this season. The fine for a campfire would have been $325 and I assume their would be an additional fee for leaving the fire unattended. Apparently, that's not enough to deter some people.

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough information to track down the other people but I told him everything I knew. If I knew who they were I would have turned them in, in a heartbeat. I just can't believe that these people, after passing all the signs saying there was a fire ban, made a fire and didn't even put it out completely when there was a stream 10' away. I can start to understand why a Stage 3 Fire Ban exists, because some people refuse to follow the rules.

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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby peter303 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:35 am

A lot of younger people dont view broadcast news anymore- tv or radio- and are generally unaware of current events in my experience. Unless there are large fire ban signs posted at the trailhead, they just may not know. Also plenty of people from out of state may not have heard of the bans. And many are coming in a few days.

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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby USAKeller » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:42 am

Yeah, too bad you had to deal with that.

I had a similar experience with those lacking common sense with the fire ban this past Saturday night - I took a group of 6 up camping to do Grays and Torreys Sunday and we camped at the TH. A group of 2 guys set up camp 20 yards or so from us and decided to light up a charcoal grill (!) to grill food. One of our group members went over and politely asked them if they knew there was a state-wide stage 2 fire ban going on. She said they acted clueless despite there being signs posted all over! They went on to cook anyways. We couldn't believe it. She believed they were under the influence of some substance, which made us worry all night they'd forget to put out the grill. We barely slept because of it (also due to fact there were 6 people crammed in our tent!), but luckily woke up without incident! I can be naive, but I can't help but wonder how you don't know there is a serious fire ban in place.
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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby Lemmiwinks » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:47 am

At least the ranger was actually checking on the area. I was hiking Massive on Saturday and saw about 8 campfires as I drove down Halfmoon Cr Road. Some were legal (metal containers), but many of them were just in rock campfire rings or out in the open. There were no legal authorities patrolling the area the entire time I was there. I saw a sheriff as I was about to turn onto US 24 near Leadville, and I reported the campfires to him, but he didn't seem too interested.


Seperate arguement: I can't believe that campfires in metal containers are even legal at this point when there is a "State-wide Fire Ban." Hello.....Governor.....
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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby tmathews » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:59 am

Lemmiwinks wrote:Seperate arguement: I can't believe that campfires in metal containers are even legal at this point when there is a "State-wide Fire Ban." Hello.....Governor.....


The statewide fire ban right now is Stage 1. Under Stage 1, campfires in permanent fire pits can be allowed (rock rings to not count) at developed sites. Here's some info.

Possible Exemptions

1. Persons with a written permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
2. Fires in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed recreation sites.
3. Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force
in the performance of an official duty.
4. Mechanical stoves and appliances fueled by bottled or liquid gas which allow the operator
to control or extinguish the flame with a valve are permitted provided that such devices are approved by Underwriters Laboratory Inc.
5. Owners or lessees of land in the restricted area.
6. Residents in the restricted area.

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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby MtHurd » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:02 am

Maybe if you texted them instead of talking to them they would be more likely to listen. :?

Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby Bean » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:09 am

peter303 wrote:A lot of younger people dont view broadcast news anymore- tv or radio- and are generally unaware of current events in my experience. Unless there are large fire ban signs posted at the trailhead, they just may not know. Also plenty of people from out of state may not have heard of the bans. And many are coming in a few days.


The variable message boards all across the state have fire ban info. So unless they're taking all back roads, not listening to the radio, or watching any tv, or looking at any news updates on their phones, it's not ignorance.

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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby Presto » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:12 am

by tmathews » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:59 am

The statewide fire ban right now is Stage 1. Under Stage 1, campfires in permanent fire pits can be allowed (rock rings to not count) at developed sites. Here's some info.


Not totally accurate, Terry ... statewide fire bans are superceded by County fire bans ... http://www.clearcreeksheriff.us/pdfs/fire-ban-declaration-2012-06-15.pdf Stage 2 fire bans due indeed ban fires even in an established campground.

It is best if people simply check the county sheriff's website for whichever county they are visiting.
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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby Chris P. » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:13 am

peter303 wrote:A lot of younger people dont view broadcast news anymore- tv or radio- and are generally unaware of current events in my experience. Unless there are large fire ban signs posted at the trailhead, they just may not know. Also plenty of people from out of state may not have heard of the bans. And many are coming in a few days.


In the specific case of the Maroon Bells area there are large signs at the trailhead, and on every campsite sign in the Crater Lake area communicating the campfire ban, and on some of the campsite posts there are multiple signs (both pictoral and written) stating the fire ban. Over the last couple of weeks I've seen signage at every NFS and BLM regulated trailhead, picnic site, campground etc... that I've been through. This is in addition to the warnings on every highway notification sign along a 300 mile stretch of I-70 (and I'm guessing I-25 as well). Lack of communication is not the problem. I don't believe you were trying to justify anyone who was in the wrong, but even if people are ignorant that is not a valid excuse. At this point there has to be a certain level of selfishness and stupidity that lead to incidents like this.

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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby tmathews » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:20 am

Presto wrote:
by tmathews » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:59 am

The statewide fire ban right now is Stage 1. Under Stage 1, campfires in permanent fire pits can be allowed (rock rings to not count) at developed sites. Here's some info.


Not totally accurate, Terry ... statewide fire bans are superceded by County fire bans ... http://www.clearcreeksheriff.us/pdfs/fire-ban-declaration-2012-06-15.pdf Stage 2 fire bans due indeed ban fires even in an established campground.

It is best if people simply check the county sheriff's website for whichever county they are visiting.


Well, yeah, several counties have Stage 2 under effect, but right now the statewide ban is only Stage 1 (I only referenced the statewide ban because Taylor referenced Hickenlooper).

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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby djkest » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:22 am

Up in Yankee Boy Basin on Thursday night we could see a large campfire down the valley from us. I was picking it up on my camera while trying to take star photos although we could see it with the naked eye. It was over a mile away. I'm 98% sure there were fire ban signs in multiple locations along the way. We didn't drive down and contact them, but it was a little unnerving. And just 5 days earlier there were multiple ATV riders lighting (camp)fires near Lake Como. :roll:
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Re: Stupidity of Some People Concerning Fire Ban

Postby Papillon » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:25 am

Chris P. wrote:
peter303 wrote:A lot of younger people dont view broadcast news anymore- tv or radio- and are generally unaware of current events in my experience. Unless there are large fire ban signs posted at the trailhead, they just may not know. Also plenty of people from out of state may not have heard of the bans. And many are coming in a few days.


In the specific case of the Maroon Bells area there are large signs at the trailhead, and on every campsite sign in the Crater Lake area communicating the campfire ban, and on some of the campsite posts there are multiple signs (both pictoral and written) stating the fire ban. Over the last couple of weeks I've seen signage at every NFS and BLM regulated trailhead, picnic site, campground etc... that I've been through. This is in addition to the warnings on every highway notification sign along a 300 mile stretch of I-70 (and I'm guessing I-25 as well). Lack of communication is not the problem. I don't believe you were trying to justify anyone who was in the wrong, but even if people are ignorant that is not a valid excuse. At this point there has to be a certain level of selfishness and stupidity that lead to incidents like this.


There were signs all over The Bells this weekend including the parking lots - no fires, no charcoal, no cigs. I believe the campgrounds along Maroon Creek Road had yellow covers over the fire rings too.

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