This morning I went for a ride to make some sunrise pictures of the Springs Fire that is burning about 20 miles from our side of town. With wildfire season starting early this year it had me thinking about the fact that I am encouraging people to get outside and use camping stoves. This is a catch 22. The stoves, either the ones I am using or any stove for that matter, bear a certain amount of rink in their use. Just like the stove at home they can burn you or set stuff on fire. In some regards that is the point of using them. The thing is that if you are going to use one outside, you MUST be knowledgeable in how to use it safely. You may notice that even when I am up in the hills I find an area of wide open dirt, NOT all surrounded by dry brush 2 feet from the stove. Most of the time I prefer to set up down on the beach sand or a flat rock at the beach. Should something go wrong there is no shortage of water to throw on it.
One point of the coffee rides is to give you a reason to get the knowledge and skills required to use the stove safely, making longer trips more approachable. If you have never used one before, practice at home with no wind and a fire extinguisher close by. Once that seems easy, move on to more exciting venues, but safety first, park benches surrounded by concrete or dirt make good sense. Always be prepared to put out a fire, have backup water etc.
That said here are some pictures of todays ride:
It was in incredibly beautiful day to head out and shoot some photos, brew up a cup etc. When you are out there, and you should be, think about where you choose to heat up your water, your skill set, and always be mindful during the entire process. As with everything we do in life there is inherent risk, and risk often bares rewards. Twenty miles from me some people are having a very long day/weekend.
As an aside about being prepared this fire season, when I worked construction most of the guys had a fire extinguisher in their truck, and had all used it at some point, usually to help someone else. Most of my readers are on the west coast where wild fires are a real threat. It does not make sense to always keep an extinguisher on the bike, but know who to call in an emergency. You never know when you might be a first responder.