We've just received the following information from Linda Jalbert,
conveying Grand Canyon National Park's current position on firepans, and GC fires more generally. With the winter boating season upon us, this is good planning information.
In response to the questions (via yahoogroups) on the appropriate size
As you note - the regulations state that a firepan is required for all
trips October 1 through April 30. The container must be 300 square
inches with a 3" high rim. An oil pan is not sufficient, but may be
used for charcoal Dutch Oven cooking. A fire pan should also be
elevated off the ground, and as Rich noted we highly recommend that a
fire blanket (welding) cloth be placed beneath the fire pan area as
well. The larger fire pans and blanket will reduce the spread of
charcoal on the beaches.
In the past year, we have seen (via river patrols and resource
monitoring) an increase in charcoal residue on beaches, along the
shoreline and in eddies. We have also seen the disapperance of "down
and dead" wood from vegetated areas. The requirement that fires are
restricted to driftwood only is important. This avoids disturbance to
micro- habitats around camps, and also reduces visible and purposeful
damage to native and non-native trees and shrubs in the river corridor.
Understanding that the driftwood supply is also limited, it has been
suggested (highly recommended by some), that alternative sources of
heat be considered -- whether it is the "propane campfire" or use of
the pressed wood product logs, or carrying your own firewood. We also
recommend that you carry an extra ammo can or two to containerize the
ashes and residue.
Also, don't expect to find driftwood at all camps - many popular camps
have very little. Plan ahead, carry a bundle with you.
Thanks for putting out the question on the listserve -- as Tom noted,
you don't want to show up at the Ferry unprepared and have to find a
place to rent or buy the proper firepan.
On behalf of the NPS folks, Be safe, and have a great trip.
Division of Science & Resource Management
Grand Canyon National Park