Watch hikers talk about the danger of alcohol stoves

We asked Shane “Jester” O’Donnell for a little background about this video. Here it is. For more, see our fire information page.

“Considering Your History” is a short film shot while doing a thru-hike of the PCT in 2008.

To my mind, what is remarkable about the story is that it’s not actually all that remarkable. Almost everyone I know who has used an alcohol stove has a story about a near-disaster that was caused by inattention. Even people who have plenty of experience can still make mistakes – Coyote, the woman telling the story, is a Triple Crowner.

I made this video not to scare people but to highlight the fact that we all need to be vigilant when we’re cooking in the wilderness, regardless of what method we’re using.

Since it seems like fire bans are becoming more frequent in the West, I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to know and follow the regulations and recommendations wherever we’re backpacking, and not to think: “I know what I’m doing. I’m not going to be the person who starts a forest fire.”

Accidents happen all too frequently. Putting yourself in the best position to avoid them might mean changing how you cook as well as paying attention all of the time, regardless of method.

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Author: Jack "Found" Haskel

As the Trail Information Manager, Jack works to connect people to the PCT. He's involved with a wide variety of projects that help the trail, the trail's users and the community that surrounds the experience. He has thru-hiked (Pacific Crest Trail in 2006; Colorado Trail in 2008; Continental Divide Trail in 2010) and is an obsessed weekend warrior.