Leave No Trace for Fire Artists

Most of the information on this page relates to installation (on-playa) fire art, but much of it will be helpful even if your fire art is in your camp or on a mutant vehicle.

The LNT Grid

  1. After checking in at the ARTery, you’ll be escorted to the site of your art project. The center of your project location is marked with “floofy” (a CD and plastic marker).
  2. The floofy marks the center of your Leave No Trace (LNT) grid, which delineates the boundaries of your Leave No Trace focus. You and your crew are responsible to line-sweep the LNT grid in its entirety before we check you out to leave.
  3. Your LNT grid will encompass the ENTIRE area that you and your crew and project occupy such as: the spot where your art is built, staging areas, wood shop, metal shop, shade area during your build, etc. This is for both your pre-event build site as well as your actual art installation site. For most projects (unless otherwise stated), you are responsible for a 50’ area outside of your project footprint, as well as any additional audience area. You are responsible for everything in this area, including trash left by other participants.

MOOP Public Enemy Number 1: WOOD CHIPS!

Also known as splinters, bark, sawdust, and wood debris. Aside from tent stakes and rebar left behind on camp sites or art build sites, this is one of the biggest and fastest growing MOOP problems on the Black Rock Desert.

To prevent wood chips from getting to the playa in the first place, do as much pre-cutting off-playa as possible. If you must cut wood on playa, do it in an enclosed area such as a shade structure with walls, and lay down a carpet which you can then roll up and carefully transport off-playa with the wood chips secured inside.

Where possible, choose plywood over particle board when building your projects, as particle board cracks and splinters more easily.

Pre-Burn Arrangements

To protect the playa from scarring from large-scale open fire burns, we require the use of decomposed granite (DG) as a burn platform for any art project that has been approved to burn in place. Arrangements for delivery of DG on playa will be made pre-event with Art Support Services (ASS), after your burn meeting conference call with the Artist Liaison from the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST).

Read more about DG burn shields on our Burn Scar Prevention page.


  1. Make sure that all large wood debris has burned down to nothing.
  2. Make sure that all metal debris, large and small, has been removed.
  3. Use a magnetic sweeper and landscape rake to pull up all small metal such as screws, nails, staples, etc., and any charcoal larger than a quarter.
  4. Pick up all leftover MOOP using the line-sweep method, using the LNT Grid as your team’s boundary. Be sure to check off the art site, build staging areas, wood shop, metal shop, etc.
  5. Using your LNT Grid as your guide, make your own MOOP map. It doesn’t have to be fancy but this information will be used to help the DPW Playa Restoration Team double check your area to know where to focus their efforts on any problems before the BLM inspection.
  6. Let ASS know when you are done MOOPing and are ready to check out. 
  7. When your site has been deemed as clean as it should be by a member of the ARTery team, the Heavy Equipment team will be notified that the DG can be removed.

Line Sweep Tips

  1. Think of the grid in terms of the RED, YELLOW, CLEAR just like the MOOP Map.
  2. Think of your first pass as more of an assessment pass. If an area seems RED and becomes too overwhelming, mark the area and focus on it on your second pass. Try to keep the Line Sweep moving until you’ve assessed the entire grid. Do a second and third pass of your grid until it’s CLEAR.
  3. Your LNT Grid will be designed optimally for 30 people standing six feet apart but can be done with fewer people. The more people you have, the more territory will be covered and you can therefore go faster. The most important thing is not to be further than 6 feet apart from each other.
  4. Orange traffic cones placed at the edges of your LNT grid work best at defining a visual boundary for your line-sweep team.

Orange traffic cones also work well to visually define a RED area (aka “hot spot”) to come back for further LNT focus.

Please read more about clean-up tools to make Leaving No Trace even easier.