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fire inside of your shelter is a fire and health hazard  RSS feed

 
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Instead, keep the fire outside and have a clear plastic side to your shelter. Use a Siberian log fire to "project" heat thru the clear PEVA plastic tarp. The smoke inside will kill you with CO, or ruin your lungs, long-term. If you build a reflector, tall and wide enough, on the far side of your fire, it will draw the smoke away from your shelter. The Siberian fire projects heat up to 2m, keeping your synthetics much safer from popping or drifting embers! The Dakota fire pit wastes no heat to the sides, so it's ideal for heating stones and water, which you take into your shelter/sleep gear for warmth. If your pit is 2 ft deep, with a long, slanting-entrance air-hole with a log in it, and with a third hole, about 30 degrees from vertical, for another log, you can get the Dakota pit to "gravity-feed" wood to itself for 2-3 hours, depending upon the wood composition and size, and depending upon whether or not you pack the wood with mud,
 
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I'm quite interested in the DFP (Dakato Fire Pit), but I'm unfamiliar with the set up that you are describing.  

if your pit is 2 ft deep, with a long, slanting-entrance air-hole with a log in it, and with a third hole, about 30 degrees from vertical, for another log, you can get the Dakota pit to "gravity-feed" wood to itself for 2-3 hours, depending upon the wood composition and size, and depending upon whether or not you pack the wood with mud,

 Do you have a lot of experience with building such a configuration for a DFP?  What is the angle that you use for the long, slanting entrance air hole/feeder hole?  Can you elaborate a bit further on all of this, maybe with a drawing?  I'm having trouble visualizing where this third hole is supposed to go.  I'm not sure about packing wood with mud.  What does that mean?  Is that in the third hole?  Does that stop the third hole from acting as a chimney?  I like the idea of a long-lasting DFP, but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around what you are describing.  Thanks in advance.  :)    
 
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I would like to learn more about your set-up.

I agree, fire inside a confined sleeping space is not a good idea.
 
pollinator
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I love the fact that most fireplaces/forced air have a chimney esp a RMH, that way no CO2 or CO or smoke is inside the living space.
Unfortunately there is still propane stovetop cooking.
I suppose I could upgrade to an all electric induction cooktop.

For a short term setup, I don't mind the camp fire smell on my clothes, and horrible soot in my nose and lungs.

I do like the idea of wind protection so that it is easier to keep my fire going, and less smoke/soot for a more efficient burn so, I do less work getting firewood.  
 
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A good book to have. Available for free online from the GPO. (gov't printing office)
dakota-fire-pit-1.JPG
[Thumbnail for dakota-fire-pit-1.JPG]
dakota-fire-pit-2.JPG
[Thumbnail for dakota-fire-pit-2.JPG]
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Great resource, Mike.  

The only thing I don't like about that series of images is the idea of building a fire near a tree like that.  While it is a reasonable way to deflect and disperse smoke so that you are more concealed (in survival situations, this might be imperative), I disagree with it as a general practice.  There is a good chance that your fire will generate a coal in the tree's roots, and be very difficult to ensure that it is out when you leave.  Part of the idea of a well done Dakota pit is that you can rebury it, thus concealing your fire/dead coals, and thereby not leaving much of a trace.  

In my experience, a Dakota Fire Pit generates a type of Rocket Stove effect with the positive draught, thus the fire is actually quite hot and with the right (dry) fuel and proper (somewhat equal) diameter dimensions, does not generate much smoke anyway.  
 
Mike Barkley
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I'm not too thrilled about fire near trees or wet socks hanging over the food.
 
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Depending on how far you have walked in those wet socks, and how bad of a cook you are, it might improve the flavor of your soup :D

Edit: I was going to write "who would put their socks over their food anyway?" then looked at the picture again. Wow. That pic needs work. That don't look like a good Dakota to me at all. Remind me to not go backpacking with the person who drew that.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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then looked at the picture again. Wow. That pic needs work. That don't look like a good Dakota to me at all.

Yeah, I should have wrote that too. Actually I'm not 100% convinced those are socks!- at first glance, I thought they were fish! Ha Ha. I can see them being socks, but... they could be a lot of things with a drawing as poor as that.  But if they were socks, who's to say that the survival dude or dudette didn't just mash up some soap root and wash em up nice and purdy smelling, and clean as a whistle.  I probably still wouldn't hang them over the food though.  
 
raven ranson
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I'm feeling traumatized by the last few years of wildfires.  This year our province had a total of 2,092 wildfires, burning 1,351,314 hectares (3,339,170 acres).   Europe, Africa, Asia and other places in the world have had nasty fires these last few years.  

One of the things they taught us in survival that increases a risk of forest fire is burying the embers.  These can flare up days later and cause a wildfire.  

When we are doing our medieval educational display (where we dress up and live like people from the 14th Century for a week and teach the public what life was like back then), we keep a few embers in a cast iron or clay pot filled with ash overnight then put a lid on it.  The ash insulates the embers keeping them warm and the pot reduces oxygen.  This way it's fast to start a fire in the morning.  Although, personally I find it just as fast to use a flint.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Raven:

One of the things they taught us in survival that increases a risk of forest fire is burying the embers.  These can flare up days later and cause a wildfire.    



What I meant when I posted this:

Part of the idea of a well done Dakota pit is that you can rebury it, thus concealing your fire/dead coals, and thereby not leaving much of a trace.  

is that the fire is/coals are properly out before reburying the hole.  With a Dakota Fire Pit, this is easily done as a small amount of water can be concentrated on the coals in the relatively small pit.  It should be stirred and water added until it is a mud of ash and no longer steaming.  

On a slightly related note:  In my survival training, we had fires on the ground (not in pits), and we crushed and dispersed the coals to conceal our presence.  Crushing the coals is another way to ensure that they do not have the potential to flare up, and this can also be accomplished easily with a Dakota Fire Pit as again the coals are concentrated in a small spot and a stick can be used to ram downwards into the pit to crush them.  Still, the fire area in the pit should be watered until no longer steamy.  
 
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Apart from live coals, I would be concerned with changing the pH of the soil in that spot so close to the root zone of a tree. Don't you get lye from wood ash and water?

-CK
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Yes, wood ash and water combine to make lye, and yes lye is quite alkaline, but this sort of thing happens after forest fires all the time.  And the forest/trees recover.  There are systems within systems in the forest to deal with small lye concentrations, since fire is a natural occurrence, and erosion will concentrate the lye in certain locations.  The ecosystem handles lye.

Regardless, I would emphasize caution against making a fire near a tree, as was mentioned, because of the risk of slow burning embers creeping in the roots, which is a much more serious issue than the altering the ph of a single tree, in my opinion., as this can cause a human-caused forest fire.  The ecosystem can only handle so much fire, however, before it begins to be altered towards fire tolerant and fire-dependent species and systems from ones that are not tolerant, or from forests of much more mixed tolerances.  
 
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