Happy pyromaniacs


Some folks, when out in the forest (or something looking like a forest) like to have a fire burning 24/7 or as long as somebody is awake, just for the sake of watching it burning. Not for cooking, not for warmth. Most of them would say something like “Where there is a fire, there is a home” or “there are many trees in the forest, we are just burning dead wood” or “fire brings people together”.
In some “alternative” places, people have the tradition of making huge fires in the longest or shortest nights of the year. Of course, all the night long.
Im not talking about old civilized and in some way religious traditions which are hold the whole world around. Where i was grown, in some summer day there is a religious tradition of guys walking over embers while carrying the girlfriend on the back. I am talking about people who go to live close to the forest, or call themselves ecologic or wild or primitive, and do it spontaneously.

I would like to read different opinions, can this kind of behavior be called rewilding in any way, or is it just as it looks to me, a huge waste of fuel leading to the destruction of the environment?
As i see it, living trees generously give away oxygen for every living being to enjoy (mainly; apart from food, shelter … ); dead trees provide mostly shelter and food for the rest still alive beings.

sorry if my English is a bit confusing


I’ve been experimenting a lot with coal extenders. Good way to keep the ability to make easy fire going without burning all of your fuel.

But a lot of traditional indigenous peoples have kept small fires going all the time. Or at least, it’s attempted. Kids often maintain them, so maybe some of them don’t care so much after all. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve heard that many indigenous cultures keep fires (or at least one community fire) burning all the time - presumably they are actually using the fire though, for cooking and/or warmth. One culture I heard of has kept their community fire going so long that they have no knowledge of how to make fires, and their fire goes back so many generations that it could have been hundreds of years since it was first lit. :o In that case the method they use is to put a gigantic log on the fire, and they just keep moving it slowly into the fire as it burns. One person in the community has the role of fire-keeper, whose job is to always watch the fire and make sure it never goes out (I don’t know the details of how they work it out for sleeping and such - maybe others help out and they just delegate). I think many cultures have had designated fire-keeping roles, and in specific situations too (like among a group of scouts, so everyone other than the fire keeper avoid looking at the fire and keep their night vision).

Other than a central fire for a community that is actually being used all the time, though, I don’t feel it is justified to keep a fire burning all the time (unless it is a practice of one’s particular culture, of course). I feel that burning a fire purely for pleasure is dishonoring the earth, by failing to be mindful of the fact that any wood we burn now is taking food away from the soil, and thus from future generations.

I think fire has an absolutely vital role to play in our lives, for survival, daily life, and sacred ceremony, and consider “fire ban” laws to be infringing on our fundamental human rights (what it means to be human). But at the same time, as with any aspect of life, I think we should be very mindful of what the land gives us to make this activity possible.


Keeping a fire going all the time may have been just a laziness thing. Starting a fire without matches or a lighter takes a bit of effort. So much easier to just bank the fire overnight and wake it up again in the morning for breakfast. Or perhaps they consider their fire a living thing and a friend. Fire has all the scientific criteria for life except for one.


The ashes themselves, however, are another kind of food. Maybe more like a quick burst of food rather than slow digesting food, but it does enrich soil.


True, ashes do also feed the soil. But my understanding is that burning wood causes a net loss of nutrients though, since carbon is being released into the atmosphere that would otherwise go into the soil.


i find this very usefull. I had never thought about it, but it makes a lot of sense.

in the line of the “minimum impact” (maybe i should make another post) i was always wondering what would make less damage: using the wood of an already dead tree, or cutting down one alive?
not just for fire, i mean using wood in general
living trees give oxigen and a lot of food (as well as many other things)
dead trees are home to many animals and are food too

any ideas?