by: Carrie A. Blakley
Ahhh, I just love the smell of campfire smoke in the morning. A campfire is something I’ve always enjoyed, no matter what time of year it is. That being said, during this particular time of the year, campfires also make me a bit uneasy. OK, they make me extremely uneasy. Especially when I wake up in the middle of the night, and can still smell the camp fires. Keep in mind, that where I live is at least 1/4 mile away from any camp site. Given all the fires that have been flaring up around the northern parts of the state lately, and the fact that Nevada’s monsoon season doesn’t really end until the end of this month, folks around here tend to get a bit uneasy. Also, the fact that we’re always reading about one town, or another, being evacuated due to lighting-caused fires, doesn’t exactly help to ease our worries when it comes to campfires.
Fire safety should be first, and foremost, on every camper’s list. So far as I know, this is true of our dear campers this year. Thankfully, many (if not most) of the camp sites in Sierra County are very close to (if not right next to) a large water source. One thing many new campers to this area find out (usually the hard way) is the fact that cell phones, GPS and other forms of new-fangled technologies, are usually rendered useless….unless someone happens upon a free wifi connection from a local’s house, or business. To give you an example of the GPS situation: I had a young man drive up to my work place and ask me where the Sheriff’s Office was. He said his GPS was working, but that it did not show the location of the Sheriff’s Office. Well, his GPS was in fact on, and it seemed to be working…with one little problem. The map that the GPS was showing, had the Sheriff’s Office located firmly at the bottom of the Yuba River, and the courthouse, as well as the forestry buildings, were non-existent.
Please prepare. These may seem like ‘no-brainer’ things when you go camping, but they are not. Relying too much on technology when you’re up in God’s Summer Kitchen is not something you want to be doing. Having a campfire is wonderful, so long as you’ve got a bucket of water handy to put it out completely when it’s time to go to sleep, or leave the camp site for the day. Exploring the area is a beautiful way to spend your day, but please do not go out there unprepared. Have a trail map, road map or something other than a GPS handy to help guide you at all times. This is a national forest, not a hiking trail at Disney Land. Have a safe, and happy, week everyone!