There are three factors that influence the establishment of Scouting's policy on the use of fuel other than natural wood. These are: (1) The basic purposes of Scouting and its camping program. (2) The protection from hazards of chemical fuels. (3) The necessity of safely adapting to local conditions and practices.
First, it is essential ot Scouting's purpose that a boy learn and practice the skills of primitive living. He develops a personal confidence.\, initiative, and preparation for life as he advances through the Scouting program. In building a fire the needs to learn the care and use of tools; know about tinder, types of fuel, and how to prepare it. The correct principles of fire building to cook his food and ware his body, containing the fire, and putting it out are essential for his training is campcraft, self-reliance, and preparedness.
The need for adopting to special circumstances, such as lack of natural wood for fuel or the regulations of sp3ecific areas where open fires are prohibited for safety or environmental reasons, make it necessary for Scouts and Scout leaders to learn the skills and safe procedures in using chemical fuel stoves and lanterns. Convenience is one of the joys of modern life, but with it goes the necessity of precaution against many hazards. It is important to remember that when any chemical fuel is used for cooking and lighting, it is the fuel which is dangerous – not the stove and lantern.
Local Districts through roundtables and volunteer training courses should make every effort to train unit leaders and District Scouters in the proper techniques and procedures to safely operate chemical fueled stoves and lanterns. These leaders, in turn, train and supervise youth members in these same skills and procedures. The BSA policies on fuels are to be fully complied with.
The Lantern and Stovemanship Course provides a syllabus for Adult Scouters to train Scouts in storage, packing, transporting, operation, and safety aspects of jellied, gaseous and liquid fuels. Because of the wide variety of lanterns and stoves available it is left to the Unit Leader to train the Scout in the specific operations of the lanterns and stoves used by the Troop. Upon completion of the test and the recommendation of the Scoutmaster, the Scout may be allowed to operate gas or liquid fueled stoves and lanterns for cooking and illumination, under Adult supervision.
By learning and practicing the skills of primitive living a Scout can develop confidence and initiative as the advances through Scouting. By building a wood fire, he learns how to use and care for the wood tools that make good tinder and fuel, how to make a fire lay, and how to contain and put out a fire. These skills are essential for self-reliance and training the camp craft. However, with the concern of low impact camping and environmental issues, the availability of firewood has become scarce to nonexistent and under some conditions laws prohibit open fires with either wood or charcoal. What then? To address this problem the BSA has approved the use of jellied, gaseous and liquid fueled stoves and lanterns …… if certain precautions are observed as described below.