RECENTLY, DENYSE AND I have stayed in a couple of van parks in which anyone is allowed to have a campfire. One place had set camp fireplaces beside van sites, while the other had moveable
drums on legs for the purpose.
Now, most folk enjoy sitting around a campfire, Denyse and I included. That said,
we prefer to be offroad with our fire, and use it to cook either a barbecue or camp oven stew.
THE DOWNSIDE OF FIRE
At these parks, nearly everyone availed themselves of the opportunity to have a fire, as they are not allowed in most van parks. In both cases, however, there were many fires which burnt and smouldered all day, and smoke filled the van parks. Most people did not cook over the fire, just sat around it.
In the second park, the weather had been wet for several days, so any available wood was wet, and this created even more smoke. Some inconsiderate people set up a fire closer to other vans, so they did not get smoke through their van. We were told by one couple that they moved out of the park due to smoke, even though they had booked for a week,
as the lady suffered from asthma.
We did not feel the need to have a fire, although one evening we joined friends who had one. The fire was put out with water when they went to bed. Even so, we did have smoke in our van.
There is always a danger of fires spreading if not put out, and many people still don't recognise the dryness of our country, and how wind can spring up during the night. I would stress the requirement to put the fire out with water before going to bed, particularly if the fire is in the open.
Other parks have a central campfire pit, where everyone can meet, enjoy happy hour, or even cook a camp oven meal. Maybe this is a better idea.
At the Wild River Caravan Park in Herberton, Qld,
they have a firepit in a hut, where we all gathered for happy hour.
Some cooked a meal nearby on a wood-burning barbecue. This was a perfect situation, we thought, as the smoke went up the chimney, away from all vans. The park owner supplied dry wood, and the hut contained seats and a table.
Should campfires be contained to one designated area? Or not allowed at all? Have your say below.
WORDS AND PICS Tony Allsop
Written exclusively for Caravan World