Burning Boy Scout Camp

13 Dec
Originally posted by neo_hippie24 at Photobucket.com

Campfires, not prairie fires, are what you want at Boy Scout camp

A guy who spends all of his time in his living room playing video games is hardly equipped to get back to Nature, in all Her fury. Consider this scenario: Boy Scouts + High Wind + Campfires = Near Disaster. Hunter redeems his reputation as a true warrior, both on and off the video game screen, when he starts, and then stops, a fire–but not before the fire department is called. Perhaps he had better go back to gaming. — Chris

In Greek mythology, when the titan Prometheus created humans, he gave them fire as a gift. Of course, afterwards, he was chained to a boulder and forced to have an eagle eat his regenerating liver every day. Recently, I figured out why. Fire may be helpful, warm, and calming, but it can cause disasters in the blink of an eye.

On my most recent Boy Scout troop campout, I got a firsthand example of this and a healthy dose of pyrophobia. The campout was scheduled on a moderately chilly October weekend, but with the right gear, everyone, even the easily-freezable Teenwebzine writer Jaime, managed to live. It was a survival camp, and that meant we had to build our own shelter, and I managed to stay warm in my pitiful pile of tarps. But on day two, I discovered that too much warmth could be a bad thing.

The next day, around mid-morning, I was the only one at the campfire. Mr. Bogart (Scoutmaster) and Mr. Walker (Asst. Scoutmaster) were gathering firewood, my friends Jaime and Andrew were walking some nearby trails, and everyone else was out playing soccer. All by my lonesome, I decided to grab a granola bar. I got a paper towel while I was at it. After satisfying my case of the munchies, I threw the wrapper and paper towel into the fire. That was around the time when all heck started to break loose.

The paper towel went into the pit, but then it flew out and set fire to a small patch of grass. I quickly stomped it out. While that happened, Mr. Walker’s chair fell into the fire, and a piece of burning nylon blew all over the place. Wind sucks. I started stomping out the rapidly-growing blaze, but it was too much for one knucklehead to handle.

I screamed, “Help! Fire!” repeatedly, and though my vocabulary in crisis situations significantly diminishes, those two words were enough. Bogart and Walker scurried back and poured all the water we had on the inferno. Jaime and Andrew helped me in my stomping spree. The soccer guys ran over as soon as they saw smoke. Even a neighboring troop ran over to help. By this time, Mr. Bogart had called the fire department. A few minutes later, we managed to put out the fire. And then, the firetrucks arrived.

While the firemen doused the torched area with a hose, I realized that the fire: a) nearly burnt down the Lorenzen’s tent, b) had almost gotten to a huge cornfield, c) would have blown up the nearby farmer’s truck, d) would have hit the treeline, and e) if b, d, and possibly c would have happened, half the county would have gone up in flames.

I realized that I was a hero. I’m still waiting for my medal. I’ll take my reward in small, unmarked bills, please. — Hunter

5 Responses to “Burning Boy Scout Camp”

  1. Dot Davis December 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Exciting tale! Eeeeeeek. Glad order was restored before the Scouts had more popped corn than they could handle!

    A relevant quotation:
    “How is it that one match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to start a campfire? —Christy Whitehead
    and an old proverb:
    “Fire, water, and government know nothing of mercy.”
    Bye for now. 🙂

    • teenwebzine December 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

      I have never seen truer quotes, Aunt Dottie.

  2. Lisa December 18, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    A terrific post — I was laughing and worried at the same time while reading. I’m a huge outdoor girl and love hearing of others experiences — keep the outdoor articles a comin’! How fascinating — a survial camp experience. Isn’t scouting awesome!!! What did you eat, what were the shelters like? It’s like “Survivor Man”!

  3. DeAnn Allison-Cudly December 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    Another fine account. Me thinks you might have a career in journalism waiting for you:) Have you read “Young Men and Smoke” by Norman McClain? It’s about smoke jumpers fighting a fire in Montana and is a truly remarkable work. Keep writing, Hunter. The world needs to hear from you:)


  4. oinikkijamesj6 June 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Excellent web-site from Liz Spight

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