Originally Posted by Andy H.
As an aside to this discussion, one trick is to strain the ashes and then carry any chunks of charcoal to the next campsite where you can use it in the fire the next night. This way you're never carrying more than one night's worth of ash and charcoal.
Most rangers in Lodore/Yampa area wouldn't be happy hearing about ash in the river. Most ash gets collected in eddies and it looks like crap until next high season hits.
I personally dump all ash, left over burnt wood and dump the remains from the fire blanket into 20mm ammo can. Then the next night dump it back onto firepan and reburn it. Nothing goes in the river.
We usually have 2-3 ammo cans designated for ash and trash. It works great bringing charcoal in an ammo can for your assigned dinners and then using that ammo can for ash collection. Whoever cooks first night starts the ash or trash ammo can, then when gets full, start another.
Ammo cans work great for ash, especially if it's still hot. I just put the whole ammo can in the river to cool it off and if it's really hot, pour some river water inside. 5 mins and the hot ash is ready to get packed in the boat.