Posted by Bodie the Dog on December 08, 2003 at 10:22:49:
In Reply to: Campfires posted by J on December 06, 2003 at 13:01:50:
Yes, fires are a part of the natural ecosystem. That's why concealing your scent with smoke is a (semi-)effective hunting technique. The problem lies in destruction of standing and dead material to feed the fire. Even downed wood has a purpose, serving as a home and food source to those little critters which form the base of the food web. And we've all no doubt seen the impact on a heavily used area by hordes of campers.
Visible burn scars ruin the feeling that you're the first to explore an area. Hot fires can damage the soil. They ruin your night vision. They open your campsite up to inspection by the authorities and present them with another excuse to hassle you.
A fire does serve as a camp's center, a small source of warmth, the communal TV set. I say burn on! But remember, "white man build big fire, stand far away. Indian build small fire, sit close."