dakota fire hole

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The dakota fire hole is an efficient, ‘low’ impact stove constructed of a main chamber, dug into the ground, and a secondary air hole. The fire, when hot, sucks the air in through the windward airhole to superheat the fire in the chamber causing an efficient burn in term of wood used, high temperatures and very little smoke. Because the flames and embers are below the ground it also makes for a fire that excels in stiff breezes and has a low visual imprint on the landscape. Great if you don’t want to be seen! When cooled and filled in with the turf used to excavate it it leaves very little visual clue too.

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The fire hole is very easy to make in non-saturated, non-combustible (ie NOT peat) and non-stony soil. Just a digging stick and your bare hands will suffice. This one here took 10 minutes to make and a couple of minutes to light.

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Dig a hole about 20-30cms wide and about 30cms deep Hollow out the chamber into a bottle shape to create more space for fuel.

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About 30 cms away and on the windward side of the main chamber dig a secondary, sloping air hole the intersects with the bottom/side of the main chamber. Make the hole about 15cm wide – or enough to get your arm down. The wind will help feed the fire oxygen to superheat it and create a more smokeless burn.

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Cut four bits of green wood for the edge of the main fire hole – this can be used to mount your billy can  – allowing for airflow and also to enable the feeding of fuel.

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Once finished then saturate hole, fill in and re-turf.

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