Fire Guidelines in Camps

The winds can pick up at any time on the Black Rock Desert. Untended or dangerously-constructed fires in camps can quickly throw sparks and embers long distances across the playa, and into other flammable structures. It’s imperative that each participant using fire do their part to keep Black Rock City and participants safe.

If you’re planning on having fire in your camp, whether it’s open fire in a burn barrel or flame effects, you must comply with the following rules. These guidelines are for your safety, the safety of your campmates, and all of Black Rock City.

Fireworks Prohibited within the City Grid

We all love a good fireworks show, but the use of pyrotechnics within any of Black Rock City’s camping areas is a violation of both common sense and Burning Man’s event stipulations with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Pyrotechnics may only be used as part of pre-registered and approved art projects located on the open playa. Any other use of pyrotechnics is forbidden, and may result in steep fines and/or arrest by the BLM and/or Pershing County Sheriffs, and possible ejection from the event.

Also, as the hillsides surrounding Burning Man are in high fire risk status during the time of the event. The use of sky lanterns is forbidden at any time during the event, and may result in fines from the BLM and/or Pershing County Sheriffs.

Open Fire within Camps

  • The burning of any art installation, wooden structure, or other objects or materials in direct contact with the playa, or without appropriate fireproof containment, is not allowed in any camping area.
  • Open fire within residential camping areas is limited to simple burning of solid or unpressurized liquid fuels away from the playa surface and within appropriate fireproof containment (e.g., burn barrels or other raised containers, lanterns, candles, etc.).
  • Burn barrels or other containers should be secured against tipping over, and constructed in a way that the bottom surface is at least 6 inches from the playa to prevent baking or scarring of the playa surface.
  • No burn barrels or other open fire shall be left unattended. At least one camp member should be designated fire tender and be within visual distance at all times. If found unattended while lit, open flames or burn barrels may be extinguished and/or confiscated if there is sufficient threat of hazard.
  • If winds pick up, all open fire must be put out immediately and burn barrels must be extinguished if they begin to throw sparks.
  • Open fire displays greater than 10 feet tall must be secured in case of high wind and their safety perimeters increased appropriately.
  • Open fire or burn barrels must be extinguished at the request of any Ranger, FAST and/or Emergency Services Department (ESD) personnel.
  • A 20-ft. zone around the fire must be free of any combustible materials such as (but not limited to) cloth, paper, tents, plastic, etc.
  • A supply of at least five gallons of water and fire extinguishers must be kept on hand to extinguish wood fires in case of high winds or other hazards. Wind can blow embers and sparks a long distance across the playa!

Flame Effects and LP-Gas Appliances within Camps

Flame effects are allowed within BRC camping areas and subject to all General Flame Effects Guidelines, including additional considerations specific to the dense urban landscape:

  • The use of liquid-fueled flame effects is prohibited in camping areas.
  • If winds pick up, all flame effects must be put out immediately.
  • Flame effects must be extinguished at the request of any Ranger, FAST, and/or ESD personnel.

Note that store-bought, UL-approved patio heaters, fire pits, lamps and lanterns, cooking units and other unmodified UL-approved appliances that burn LP-Gas are not considered “flame effects” for purposes of this section. However, due caution in using such appliances is still required, including but not limited to locating them sensibly, securing them from wind, checking them for leaks, and so on. Burning Man’s ESD has jurisdiction over all such appliances. Any request from ESD personnel to secure, relocate, or turn off any such appliance must be accommodated.

Fire Performance within Camps

Please check out the Fire Performance page for more information and guidelines about fire performance safety in camps.