Cleanup and Restoration

Starting the last day of the event and lasting roughly one month, DPW’s Playa Restoration Team works to return the Black Rock Desert to its pre-event condition. The work ranges from removing city structures to picking up large and small bits of escaped trash (onsite and around the desert) and eradicating burn scars (the residue of fired playa sediment and ashes).

It’s a large undertaking to leave no trace of a week-long city with an ever-growing population of tens of thousands of people, but our future existence demands it, and it is the right thing to do. It is a rewarding, team-spirited effort as well as a nice way to intimately experience the Black Rock Desert and unwind after the hectic Burning Man week (not to mention that staying after is the perfect solution to avoiding the mass exodus traffic). However many days you can stay, or come back up for, your contribution will be greatly appreciated!

The citizen cleanup effort begins on the final Sunday of the event and goes through a few days past Monday, Labor Day. Everyone attending is asked to clean up their own camp (down to the granular level), plus contribute two hours scouring the open space of the city before departing.

Starting the day after Labor Day (Tuesday), the event is officially over and the only people allowed to remain at the site are the DPW Playa Restoration crew (this is mandated by our permit). Clean Up is an organized effort. You can sign up by coming to the daily 8 a.m. meeting at the DPW Depot (check out Playa Info for directions). Things that are handy to have: gloves, hat, water bottle, trash bucket (an empty plastic water jug with 3″ hole cut out of the top for sharp items such as glass and nails), and a pickup truck! If you plan on helping with this effort, email the DPW Volunteer Coordinator at, or check “DPW” on the Volunteer Questionnaire and specify Clean Up when prompted.