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Survival Fire in the Wilderness

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by thewildyam, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. thewildyam

    thewildyam Monkey

    Hey guys!

    I just completed a new video on how to make a dakota pit fire. These are a really neat way to make a fire that is efficient and good to use in rainy or windy conditions. They are also good for situations in which you don't want a conspicuous fire.

    Motomom34, Ganado, Seepalaces and 3 others like this.
  2. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    I had never heard of a Dakota fire pit until one of Falcon's Sunday afternoon shows about three months ago. Have yet to try one, but next opportunity ....
    chelloveck and Seepalaces like this.
  3. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Nicely done video, but I do have one comment.

    Any pit fire dug through tree roots carries the danger of a root fire. Roots can burn just like a
    slow fuse, and eventually set first a tree and a whole forest alight.

    The Forest Service spends a lot of time checking for root fires after a lightning strike, or a
    regular surface fire caused by tossing lit cigarettes or leaving a campfire unattended.

    Idiots that build a fire directly against the base of a tree not only kill the tree but stand a good chance of starting a root fire that may pop up a dozen yards away a few weeks later.

    The Dakota fire pit definitely has it's uses, but it was originally designed for use on the open prairie.

    Root Fires and Leave No Trace Campfire Building | Section Hikers Backpacking Blog

    The bit about mineral sand fires in the reference video is all very well & good, but utterly impractical for all but car camping. A hobo stove set on a flat rock or bare ground is a good way to go. Survival always trumps conservation, and I would have no qualms about starting a forest fire or a brush fire to get a man-hunting bear off my trail or to get found after a plane crash, if I had no other choice.
  4. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey Site Supporter+

    Wow, I'm really appreciating everything I'm learning here. I'd add that any soil covered in leaves for years isn't mineral poor soil. Was she bringing up that mineral content for a reason? I missed it.
  5. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Mineral earth is free of organic (carbon) combustable materials...i.e. it comprises minerals from the underlying parent rock formation, usually in the subsoil horizon.


    as an aside, a Dakota Hole fire set in a peat bog is probably not a good idea either.
  6. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    @ chelloveck

    And then, of course, there's always coal seams--for which you don't even need any firewood.

    (For mineral sand, think construction sand--like the stuff they make cement with,)
    Seepalaces likes this.
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Excellent post @UncleMorgan that is such a true fact. Many forest fires have popped up 3-4 days after an electrical storm.

    I do like the concept of the dakota pit and it would be safer IMO as long as you take caution to the earth you will be putting it in.
  8. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    This style fire pit has been used for 10s of thousands of years to process iron ore.
    They were dug into hill sides to take advantage of prevailing winds and worked for all cultures.

    History of Iron Iron Making in the Olden Times
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
  9. thewildyam

    thewildyam Monkey

    Great discussion guys! Thanks for the comments. Most certainly you should use this fire only in survival situations if possible. Risk of forest fires needs to be considered at all times as the consequences are significant to underground and above ground fires. For this demonstration, the ground where I was working was already quite wet (rained for a few days before this video) and there were no burn bans or alerts in effect. The hole and surrounding area were soaked with water before I left and the soil plug removed was replaced. Our soil is quite loamy (sandy) which allows the pit to maintain it's shape.
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