*Smokeless Burn Barrel*
By: Stats and Pistolshooter
30 December 2021

31 December 2021: Author attribution error corrected and added Stats' modifications that were inadvertently omitted.

Stats posted a video link to a smokeless burn barrel and Pistolshooter added some observations based on his experience.

Warlord's post about still having garbage pick up made me think, what if we don't have trash pick up?

We have a firepit by the lake, but a burning trash plume would be visible to a lot of people from the highway. Burning at night would be possible, but we are in a flyway for an airbase. Visible from pilots at night that might call in a fire to our area.

I think this is the answer for a burn barrel.

Came across this video for making a smokeless burn barrel. There are vids for making a smokeless firepits too.

It does take some time n tools to make it, but if having less smoke is your goal... here ya go.


Pistolshooter's comments:

When I lived in Baytown, I used a burn barrel for about 30 years. The concept for the smokeless barrel is good, but from experience (FNV), there are some drawbacks.

I always kept some small Hackberry, Pecan, Tallow, or whatever I had available to supplement the fire. You will almost always have wet trash that will smoke. Diapers and some lady's products have a hard time burning. Thus, the extra limbs for extra heat. The limbs also help cut down on the smoke. The hotter the fire the less smoke, but it also reduces the lifespan of the barrel.

Then you have the rain to deal with. It will pack your ashes, and the next time you burn trash, you will have the extra moisture to deal with. Plus, the inside of your barrel will flake with large pieces of rust from the inside of the barrel.

I noticed that he was only burning wood, and the barrel had no bottom. Trash/ashes will build up fairly quickly depending on the type of trash you burn. Cans will not burn, but the thin aluminum pans will usually melt away. With no bottom, the ashes will spill out from the vent holes in the bottom.

I would dump my burn barrels about every 4 to 6 weeks. I would shovel the ash or unburnt trash into garbage bags and put in a trash dumpster.

The barrel would have about 5 or 6 .556 or .22 holes in the very bottom, and various holes up the sides for breathing. Most barrels would only last around 5/6 months and have to be replaced depending on how much rain we received. More rain, less barrel lifespan.

This is just a few of the things that I remember about burning trash. YMMV.

Stats then added a modification:

I would modify it by adding (3) bars of #4 or 1/2 rebar about 8-10" from the bottom and and some expanded metal for a "new bottom"

I'd still use his bottom fan for directing air up from the ground level in a swirling motion.

Lot of work for what it is.. but the results are impressive.

Stats and Pistolshooter

All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2022 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.