Campfire cooking can be downright civilized.
No matter how spectacular the scenery, meals around the campfire are often the highlight of the camper's day.
Modern camp stoves and specialized cookware make the cook's job easier, but nothing beats the taste and appeal of a meal cooked over the campfire. Success at campfire cooking will encourage you to go camping more often.
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Caution and Respect
In days gone by, cooking over an open fire could be taken for granted. Today, with concerns about air quality, restricted areas for camping and dwindling firewood stocks in many campgrounds, the freedom to cook over an open fire is a privilege which requires the utmost in caution and respect. Here are a few important considerations:
Campfire cooking requires a clean-burning, hot fire. This is only achieved with dry, seasoned wood. Stripping trees of green wood is fruitless - your fire will be smoky, will burn poorly and create unnecessary pollution. If dry wood is not available, it will need to be packed in. Many public campgrounds supply firewood - call ahead to see what's available.
Pay close attention to the ground before preparing any fire. In circumstances where building your fire on a rock is not possible, one should ensure that the base of the fire is on bare mineral soil. A fire that is burning all evening has lots of time to burn through the organic layer of the soil and will not be put out with a simple bucket of water. Use previously established fire pits if available, to avoid scarring the area with more fire pits.
Any medium to strong wind is hazardous. The danger of sparks getting away can ignite a forest fire. Also, the coals will reduce more quickly and provide much less cooking time. If substantial wind shelter is unavailable, any outdoor fire is out of the question.