I’ve gotten several messages from people expressing concern that if they try to cook over an open fire during a widespread disaster, they’ll attract hungry and dangerous people. One thing you can do to keep down the smell is avoid cooking with spices (add them after you’re done cooking), but obviously people will still see the smoke or the flames if it’s dark outside.
While you can’t stop the smell, smoke, and light of an open fire completely, it’s possible to minimize it by digging a Dakota fire hole. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Dig a large hole, about 2 to 3 feet deep. The bigger the fire you plan on building, the wider and deeper the hole needs to be.
Step 2: Dig a smaller hole about a foot away from the first hole. Make it about 1.5 feet deep. Then dig a tunnel that connects it to the first hole. Make sure it’s big enough for your arm to fit through. This tunnel will draw air into the fire in the large hole.
Step 3: Build a fire in the large hole as you would on the ground. Be sure to use the driest wood and tinder you can find in order to minimize the amount of smoke.
For a smokeless fire, you want to have the fuel wood on the bottom and lots of kindling on top. As I said, there will still be a little bit of smoke, but not nearly as much as there would be. For a more detailed explanation and demonstration, watch the video by AlfieAesthetics below.