I was looking for alternative methods for cooking fires when I can across this interesting idea. It’s called a Dakota Fire Hole and works similar to the wood gasifier stove that I posted previously in that the fire is supposed to burn top down and have low smoke output.
The video shows that it is quite easy to build without needing special skills (always good if the youth are trying it) or tools. However there were a few considerations that I think need to be taken into account. The first is that geology will play a big part of where you can use this method. Areas such as Algonquin Park (Canada) where there is large rock formations covered by a shallow base of dirt would make this method impractical.
Also I think that I would opt for using a fire grill for safety and stability of the cooking instruments instead of a rock. On the plus side the low smoke output, and the ability to just fill in the hole when you are done make it a good choice for leave no trace camping. The fact that the size of the wood used for fuel can be collected from dead-fall around a camp site also lowers the impact on the environment.
I have added this to the “to do” list for the upcoming Scouting year. When we have tried it, I’ll report back on how successful we were. For now have a look at the YouTube video below.
Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!