Yesterday I was staying near Lake Wenatchee in Washington in an official campsite. There was a fire pit on site consisting of circular piece of metal and some rocks. The closest trees/objects were around 10 feet away, otherwise it was surrounded by nothing but dirt. There was also a grate available for cooking. So pretty safe as far as I can tell.
At the end of the day we had an argument - I wanted to keep the fire burning so that we could enjoy the light as we go to sleep. Others were saying that its not allowed so in the end we put it out. Now that I'm back, I'm trying to understand why its not allowed? From a quick Google the arguments are:
- "Its illegal". Well, so is marijuana on a Federal level but a lot of people still smoke it while camping.
- Fire might ignite nearby objects. Didn't apply as closest objects were 10 feet away.
- Wind might spread fuel around. I can see this happening, but there was a cooking grate available so we could've covered the fire to prevent wind from carrying it far.
- Kids might go play with it when you're not around. Good argument but no kids were present on the trip, nor was there a single kid in nearby campsites as far as I could tell.
So... are there conditions under which you can leave the fire burning overnight while sleeping next to it in a tent? What are the risks involved and can they be mitigated?
NB: since it was pointed out in comments, fires are currently allowed at campfires in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. We were at Nason Creek Campsite which is close to the lake but not part of the park where fires are banned.