Building a "Smokeless" fire...

posted Dec 17, 2016, 6:39 AM by Troop 1409 Wells Branch - Austin, TX   [ updated Dec 17, 2016, 5:02 PM ]
You probably came here from my funny article, and are chuckling a little, so now it is time to get serious!

BEFORE YOU BUILD A FIRE!  Please make sure you are following all the safety guidelines and rules!  This list is not exhaustive, please consult your leader.
If you are a Scout, please make sure you have your "Firem'n Chit". 

  • Build your fire in an open area, avoid overhanging trees, step slopes, rotten stumps, dry grass and leaves in the surrounding area.  Make the area fire safe.
  • Keep the fire small, avoid creating a fire that you do not have ample extinguisher to use to put the fire out.
  • Never use gas or other accelerants to build a fire.
  • NEVER leave the fire unattended.
  • Ensure you have plenty of water handy and a shovel to use to help control a fire and extinguish a fire when you are done.
  • When putting the fire out, drown the fire with water and stir the remains with the shovel or stick until they are "cold out" (cold to the touch). 


Building your "smokeless" fire!

There is no such thing as a smokeless fire.  However there are fires that have drastically reduced amounts of the irritating white smoke.  A successful fire is the result of three elements:  Oxygen, Heat, and Fuel.   A fire naturally occurs when the elements are present and combined in the right mixture, making a fire an event rather than a thing!  A fire can be prevented or extinguished by removing any one of the elements.

A fire that has ample amounts of fuel and plenty of oxygen will burn hot and reduce the amount of un-burned fuel (in the form of white smoke). 

Smokeless Fire Ring

The smokeless fire ring works based on the chemistry of a fire.  When the fuel burns, hot gas is released along with heat.  The  large flat rock attracts the hot gas as the air comes in from the opening in the fire ring and pushes the gas against the rock and travels upward.

You can now predict where the smoke will go and thus enjoy the campfire without smoke wafting in your direction!

Building the fire-ring:
  1. Find one large rock with a flat-vertical side.
  2. Gather several medium sized rocks to complete the remaining ring.
  3. Place the large rock with the flat side facing the location where the rest of the ring will project outward.  Note if there is a breeze you should point the opening in the fire ring where the breeze will blow into the fire.
  4. Place the medium rocks in a circle from the large rock outward, leaving a one-foot gap between the rocks.
  5. Surround the the fire ring with stools or benches, not blocking the opening in the fire-ring.

Make A Dakota Smokeless Fire Pit

A Dakota Fire is the best survival mechanism for the efficient-most fire that anyone can make. In this case, fuel is not required in plenty and less labor, except for the initial dug-up pit. The fire is, made by digging two pits in the ground, unlike the ground level makeshift stoves. One pit is used to burn the fuel and cook, while the other lets the airflow into the pit. The two pits create a suction of air in the bottom of the pit, where the air is, drained-off through the cooking while on the other end; air is, pulled-in through the airflow-pit.

This method keeps the fire burning for longer due to the endless supply of oxygen to combust the fuel. The fire keeps getting hotter with more air drawn into the pit.

To make a Dakota fire:
  1. Find the appropriate place for the fire. Avoid areas of rock, roots, wetness and loose soil.
  2. Use your shovel to dig a big enough hole that can keep your vessels intact while the hole becomes a perfect stove. To do this, draw a circle of your choice of measurements and dig into one feet depth. The most difficult section of making a Dakota Hole is making its airway duct. This jug shaped portal to the stove chamber should be, built strongly. Check the direction of the wind and start digging an airway duct one foot away from the fire chamber. Make sure your angle of digging is right to facilitate air into the fire chamber.
  3. Now, fill your fire chamber with fuel and light a matchstick
  4. Gradually add fuel onto this
  5. Your airway will keep fanning your fire chamber so that null or negligible smoke of obtained
  6. When moving off the area, fill in your hole with soil and tidy your waste and belongings.

Dakota fire pit is a foolproof mechanism that provides an efficient fire sans any smoke. The fire pit does not get disturbed by high wind on the ground level and is the most fuel-efficient fire.

Some smokeless fire tips:

  1. The perfect smokeless fire fuel options are dry animal droppings, wood without bark, squawk wood, dry grass, twigs and sticks.
  2. All fuel used should be maximum of 2ft and a minimum equivalent to the size of your thumb.
  3. Make sure all your fuel is dry
  4. Make sure all your fuel is sans any ash
  5. The best smokeless fuel is made by the charcoal that is made from Hardwood lump
  6. Make sure you never use the bark of the plants or trees for making a smokeless fire
  7. Make sure you have all ingredients to make the fire when you have started making the fire
  8. Always inspect the location of your fireplace with respect to safety, security and moralities, before starting a fire
  9. Always have water or other types of fire extinguisher nearby
  10. Keep your fireplace and its surroundings tidy.
  11. Keep flammable objects far away from the fireplace.