Cross-Ditch Fire

Wind can be a major difficulty in getting a fire started, but it doesn’t have to be.  With a proper design for your fire build the wind’s negative effects can be minimized and the wind can even be used to your advantage.  One such fire build is the cross-ditch fire.  Here’s how to get started.


  • First, you are going to need to dig 2 ditches in a cross pattern as the name suggests. The ditches should be about 2 feet long, 6 inches wide, and 4 to 6 inches deep at the center where they cross.  This will provide both a shield your initial flame from being blown out by the wind and allow for greater amounts of oxygen to fuel your fire.
  • Next, place your tinder bundle in the center of the cross formed by the 2 ditches. It should be large enough that it comes above the ground level.
  • Then, place pieces of wood about the length and width of your forearm across the ditches at the center. Place them in a square pattern, perpendicular to the ditches they are crossing so that they can be used to provide support for more firewood.
  • Put your kindling sized pieces of wood on top of the larger pieces in the square pattern. Place these pieces in a square pattern as well and continue to stack them up.
  • Keep larger pieces of wood nearby to add as the fire burns. If the wind is blowing hard, the wood will need to be added primarily to the downwind side where the heat is being blown to.
  • Using the ditches as access and wind blockage, carefully light your tinder bundle on the upwind side of the pile.


This fire build requires more maintenance than others but it will make the wind for you instead of against you.

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