Thursday, April 14, 2005

So what's your point?

Babble on.

Kate at small dead animals links to the following survey which indicates 8.3% of Saskatchewan residents make sure their campfire is out by checking "coals for heat with bare hands."

To which I have to say: "Yeah, what's your point?"

In the summer of 1992, I completed a military aircrew land survival course - how to survive in the woods if you have to bail out of your aircraft. It was taught by some pretty serious outdoorsmen, including a number of SAR (Search And Rescue) Techs. If you've never met a SAR Tech...well, since their job often involves parachuting into forests in bad conditions to try to save plane wreck survivors, and roughing it at the crash site for days until ground teams can reach them, SAR Techs tend to have pretty solid practical knowledge of how things should work in the bush.

I vividly recall being taught by these folks how to extinguish a campfire that has been burning continuously for a number of days.

"Being caught in a forest fire that turns you into Kentucky Fried Officer Cadet can ruin your whole day. So you need to make sure your campfire is completely extinguished before leaving your site. To do this, pour water into your fire pit until the coals and ashes turn into a loose mud. Then pour some more water on.

When you feel you've doused it thoroughly, stick your bare hand into the mud right down to the bottom of your fire pit, and stir it around. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you haven't used enough water."

After we were done spending a few days alone in the woods up near Jarvis Lake, AB and the course instructors came by our individual campsites to collect us for the trip back to CFB Edmonton, they actually watched us follow that procedure.

Sticking your bare arm into a fire pit is serious stuff. So is a forest fire. Works for me.

Babble off.


At 2:50 p.m., Blogger raider said...

That's pretty much what my Dad taught me, when canoe tripping in Algonquin. And I agree, good policy.

But I've always wondered, how long would it take to dry? If another group came along in the next day or two, wouldn't they be kinda PO'd if their fire pit was a swamp? But then, if they couldn't make fire in wet conditions, they shouldn't be out there.

At 11:40 p.m., Blogger darcey said...

Jarvis Lake? That brings back memories! me in 85

At 9:14 a.m., Blogger Gordon Pasha said...

a fair point. i prefer, however, to do quite a bit of stirring with a stick along with the pouring in of the water. then. dump sand on top. should do the trick. sticking your hand in afterward? must be a military thing. ;)


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