How to Vent a Burn Barrel

By Kirsten O'Hara; Updated April 24, 2017
An old 55-gallon drum barrel makes the perfect burning barrel.

A burn barrel is useful in rural areas or burning downed branches and trash. It's important to vent the barrel properly to allow oxygen to flow through it. This oxygen flow allows the fire to keep burning as long as it has fuel to burn. You can create vents in your burn barrel with just a few tools and a little bit of work.

Use a cutting torch to cut three square holes a few inches from the bottom of the metal barrel. These should be evenly spaced around the barrel and about 3-inches square.

Cut three pieces of metal-mesh slightly larger than the holes you made.

Drill four smalls holes around each of the venting holes.

Screw the mesh over the holes to prevent embers from causing a fire.

Cut a larger piece of mesh to lay over the top of the barrel when it is burning. This makes it easy to add more brush, preserves oxygen flow and prevents embers from flying out the top of the barrel.

Tip

Clear area 10 feet around the barrel so grass or brush won't ignite if a stray spark escapes the barrel.

About the Author

Kirsten O'Hara started freelance writing in 2010. She wrote for her university newspaper "Lion's Roar" and won several collegiate writing contests. O'Hara earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication and a minor in English from Southeastern Louisiana University.