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Backpacking Stove fire

Can I Use a Backpacking Stove Where Fires Are Not Permitted?

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We all look forward to those clear blue skies and those tall pine trees when we plan a camping trip. Camping is an excellent way to get away from the mundane and stressful life. However, the weather hasn’t been in anyone’s favor for a while, thanks to global warming. So, we end up seeing too many days without any rains which ultimately create fire restrictions on public lands. Hence,”Can I use a backpacking stove where fires are not permitted?”, is the first question that will come to your mind in case you continue to go camping.

Different kinds of parks have their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to camping fire restrictions. Fires arising out of camping aren’t very uncommon, and the dry weather just doesn’t help the situation. To give you an idea of how devastating this could be, read about the wildfire that spread in Southern California on December of 2017, which killed people and wreaked havoc to the lives of several people while causing damage to thousands of acres of land.

However, you can use your backpacking stove during high fire danger conditions. Though, that is risky. Nevertheless, there are a few things that you will need to consider to cook your food without burning the whole forest down. Let’s talk about how you can do this.

Can I Use a Backpacking Stove Where Fires are Not Permitted: Understanding Camp Fire Dangers

Answering this question is not as simple as just giving a “Yes” or a “No.” To know whether it is possible to use a backpacking stove in high fire danger areas, we must first talk about what are fire bans and what are the stages of fire restrictions.

Fire Bans

Fire bans are considered to be geographical restrictions that determine whether you are allowed to have charcoal or wooden campfire in a particular location. Certain backpacking stoves are allowed to be used even in fire ban restricted areas. However, it is best to confirm details with the local fire department before you use it.

Stages of Fire Restriction

There are three stages of fire restrictions imposed by the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management.

  • Stage I: The 1st stage of fire restriction occurs only when there is an increase in the danger of fire and/or an increase in the level of preparedness. It also happens when the risk of keeping the area open for any kind of activity begins to outweigh the risk that is inherent in doing so. During the first stage, there are relatively lesser restrictions and these itself are aimed to prevent the start of any wildfire that is based on activities such as smoking, campfires, etc.
  • Stage II: If the level of risks surpasses the risks mentioned in Stage I, then the officer can choose to declare Stage II of fire restriction. The level of the intensity of the risks increases substantially at this stage. The restrictions in this stage tend to impact forest users and also have economic impacts to the permittees, contractors, and several others. Hence, to declare Stage II of restriction require a lot of thought.
  • Stage III: This stage is the last stage of fire restrictions and is only declared when the risks are very high and managing the risks in Stage I and II are no longer possible. All the economic, social as well as the political impact of implementing this stage are outweighed by the eliminating the possibility of human-caused fires.

The whole reason why these stages of restriction are put in place is that the officials want to lower any possible risk of wildfires. When wildfires occur, they not only cause harm to life but also cost losses over thousands of dollars or more to just contain it. In addition, it also causes damage to landscapes that are basically irreparable. You will mostly find these restrictions during droughts and dry climates, especially as we inch closer to the summers.

Approved Fires

The fortunate part is that you can yet go for camping in cases like these. Officials tend to allow certain stoves for cooking. One of the famous ones includes the backpacking stove that is powered by propane. Fire pits and fire tables that are powered by propane are considered to be a fantastic alternative to experience all of the niceties of having a traditional campfire without having a fear of burning the entire forest down or contradicting the fire restrictions.

Benefits of Using Propane Backpacking Stoves

  • Provides Easier Ignition: Were you in scouts as a kid? Then you exactly know how to start a fire. With fires powered by propane, you will no longer need to worry about practices that are questionable or to choose between a log cabin method or the teepee method in order to start a fire. All you need to do is switch on the gas spark, and that’s it.
  • Reliability: Igniting fire tends to prove task when the weather conditions aren’t favorable. With a propane backpacking gas stove, these don’t come into play as there is always reliable and consistent flame.
  • Control: Propane backpacking stoves offer excellent control. Wood fires often have their “own mind” and are quite unpredictable. With propane stoves, you can easily adjust the fire and also control the flame the way you want it. To give you an example of how easy it is to control backpacking stove, you can go from a bonfire to lighting as per your mood in just seconds.
  • Provides a Cleaner Burn: Propane backpacking gas stoves burn more efficiently and cleaner in comparison to wood. Best of all, it does not even produce a quarter of the smoke that would come out of burning wood. This is a perfect alternative to having your clothes soaked with the stench of smoke and having your eyes constantly watering.


We are hopeful that this article has given you enough insight into your query, “Can I use a backpacking stove where fires are not permitted?” It’s crucial to know about all the fire restrictions and at what stage it is at when you are planning a camping trip. Our advice would be to steer away from camping during dry and hot weathers. Not only is the condition unfavorable but also a tad bit risky. Nevertheless, if you are going to head for camping, be sure to use only propane backpacking gas stoves which are the safest in times like those.

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