Fuel and Hazmat Storage

Fire Safety Agreement: Fuel and Hazardous Materials Storage

All participants using combustible fuels in an art installation (or for other purposes) at Burning Man must educate themselves about and comply with appropriate practices for storing and handling these materials.

Quantity Limit. No more than 110 gallons or two 55 gallon barrels may be stored in a camp at one time. Note: Nevada law prohibits transportation of more than 110 gallons of fuel in any vehicle without proper permitting, signage and required insurance. Arrangements can be made to have fuel delivered daily to larger generators or in barrels through independent vendors with prior arrangement. Those providing transport of fuel should read these fuel delivery and transport guidelines.

  • Sierra Fuels (775) 322-2111
  • Thomas Petroleum (877) 726-0753
  • Bently Bio-Fuels (775) 783-8038

While Burning Man has approved these providers’ access to the Event, they are not affiliated with Burning Man.

Containers. Fuel must be in appropriate containers, which include 55-gallon fuel drums and approved 5-gallon containers. Fuel containers shall not be over filled. Most fuel containers are designed to be filled to 80% in order to allow expansion based on temperature change. Proper seal must be ensured on all lids, caps, bungs, or valves to prevent spills or leaks. All containers shall be securable to prevent tampering. Fuel must not be stored in close proximity to any sources of artificially-produced heat which could cause the fuel to combust or ignite.

Separation and Emergency Egress. A distance of 10′ or greater must be maintained from the fuel storage and tents, equipment, public areas, RVs and all camp structures. A fire lane of 20′ shall be free of obstructions to provide emergency access for fire vehicles if needed. No fuel storage area shall be closer than 100′ from another fuel storage area.

Vehicle Protection. All fuel storage areas must be protected from vehicle collision. A safety area of 10′ around the stored fuel should be marked as off limits using caution tape or other equivalent measures.

Safety and Security. At least one hand held portable extinguisher with a 40-B rating is required for any fuel storage area per 55 gallon fuel quantity. Extinguishers rated as ABC, AB, or B will have a separate value for the B rating, this number should be at least 40; which indicates the square footage of a class-B fire it is designed to be used on. The fire extinguisher must be placed 8′ – 10′ from the fuel storage area and be easily visible. Note: Proper signage of “NO SMOKING-FLAMMABLE” shall be visible from all 4 directions. Tanks and barrels should be secured to prevent tampering.

Here’s an example of one: First Alert 5 Lb. 3-A:40-B:C Heavy Duty Plus Fire Extinguisher.

Secondary Containment. A secondary containment device or structure capable of holding 110% of all stored fuel inside the containment device is required. Fuel containment example.

Collections of small tanks or containers, in total quantities exceeding 20 gallons, also need secondary containment. For collections of small fuel cans, this can be as simple a fuel-resistant tarp with a raised frame placed beneath to create a containment area.

Transfer. No gravity fed tanks are allowed as fittings can break and cause large-scale spills. Electric pumps are preferable. Note: use proper electrical connections to reduce chances of spark and ignition. All electric pumps must be UL rated with proper ground bonding. Example of electrical pump.

Hand pumps are not preferable as fuel can leak out due to gravity. Always keep hose heads above the level of the tank when not in use. Fuel containers are only to be opened when dispensing or receiving fuel.

Burning Man recommends the use of a spill mat or appropriate tarp laid underneath the fuel-dispensing point when fueling vehicles to prevent any spills or overfills from contacting the playa surface. An example of a spill mat can found at:

Spill Control and Response. Preventing spills on the surface of the Black Rock desert is essential to our continued use of this resource for our Event. It is also important to be good stewards of public lands and to leave no trace. The Playa surface itself adds to the challenge because of its absorbent nature. Spill response and containment control materials should be kept on hand to deal with any spill quickly. Basic fuel spill kits should include a shovel and a sealable container for storage until disposal. Spill control measures shall be proportional to amounts of fuel stored. Example:

Fuel spills of more than 1 gallon should be reported to Black Rock Rangers or Emergency Services. Reports should include specific location and contact person at that location.

For more information emailĀ fuel@burningman.com

Note: A petroleum, flammable liquid, fire burns at the surface of the material, as it is vaporized by the fire or ambient heat. Applying water merely spreads the flaming liquid over a wider area, where it vaporizes more rapidly, intensifying the fire. The best way to put out such a fire is to cut off its air supply or interrupt its chemical chain reaction. The smothering agents commonly used for petroleum fires are carbon dioxide (CO2) and dry chemical powder extinguishers. Both are effective for flammable liquids, but dry chemical is better for outdoor use because it’s not subject to wind, has a longer range and can extinguish pressurized leaks of gas and liquid. For good all-around fire protection, use an ABC or all-class fire extinguisher.

Safety Reminders

  • Store fuel away from any running generator.
  • Do not fill the tank on a generator that is running.
  • When transferring fuel, use a pump. Never try to start a siphon using your mouth. A mouth full of gas or diesel could be fatal to you. For health reasons, wash hands after fueling.
  • Keep all equipment used for petroleum storage and handling in good condition. Watch for leaks, deterioration, or damage.
  • If fuel is spilled on your clothing, move away from any ignition source, and allow the clothing to dry. Use waterless soap for hands. If fuel should splash in eyes, use water to flush.
  • Be aware of static electricity that can build up on you and or a container. Any spark can ignite gasoline vapors. Always fill containers on the ground, not in vehicles.
  • Always use a bonding strap when transferring flammables and combustibles between containers.

When submitting your art questionnaire please prepare 2 diagrams:

  • Base Camp – Where any fuels will be stored within your camp
  • Art Installation – Where any fuels will be stored in relation to the art

This information will help the Emergency Services Department plan for emergencies.