Camp Resource Guide

This guide will support your efforts to organize amazing camps. Although some of this information is specific to theme camps and villages, most will also be relevant to camps of all types and sizes. If you prefer to watch rather than read, we’ve included relevant Camp Symposium videos and additional resources. This info is maintained by the Camp Support Team

Before you dive in, note that there is no one way to camp at Burning Man. Each of the 1,500 Black Rock City camps has its own way of doing things! These resources and advice are here to support you on your journey.

Organizing and Leading a Camp

Acculturation of Camp Members

Acculturation of Camp Members

Camps play a critical role in acculturating their members for Burning Man, including:

  • acculturating newbies to Burning Man culture, Black Rock City (BRC), and to your camp
  • acculturating returning Burners who are new to your camp or your camp’s culture
  • sometimes re-acculturating veteran Burners and reminding them how Burning Man and your camp are different from the default world.

At the most basic level, acculturation is easier or more challenging depending on ratios of new Burners to veterans. For example, if 5-10% of your camp are newbies or new Burners to your camp, it’s fairly easy for the camp leadership and other campmates to support their acculturation journey. If over 50% of your camp are newbies and/or Burners who are new to your camp, acculturation will be much more challenging. Newbie sponsorship by a veteran campmate to guide the newbie through acculturation both pre-Playa and on Playa ensures that important information is shared and the newbie is supported in the experience. Here is a 2019 Theme Camp Symposium video: Acculturation Panel  

Burning Man Culture: How do we introduce those who are on playa for the first time to our city and community? The 10 Principles were created as guidance to help all of us navigate Black Rock City and Burning Man culture around the world. They are a great place to start when bringing new friends to Black Rock City, but it’s important to note the 10 Principles are intentionally descriptive instead of prescriptive. It’s up to each of us to interpret the 10 Principles, so the more you can encourage your campmates to genuinely think about, engage with, and apply them in their own way, the more helpful it will be than telling them how they “should” interpret them. 

Black Rock City Culture: Acculturating your campmates to the unique ways we are together in Black Rock City intersects with the 10 Principles. Introduce newbies to the Survival Guide, which includes tips for how to be a good citizen of BRC, dos and don’ts, and the community resources that they won’t find in the default world. As their camp, you have a huge opportunity to affect individual behavior through the education you do up front, the expectations you set around behavior, and how you respond when something happens that isn’t in line with the culture. Consider covering topics like how to take care of your well-being, Leave No Trace, consent (including consent to be photographed, hugged, or given a gift), logos and branding, porta-potty etiquette, encouraging participation, and how to be a good neighbor. 

Your Camp’s Culture: Every camp is unique! How are you different from other camps? What do newbies or Burners who are new to your camp need to know to align with your camp’s culture? What expectations do you have of each other when it comes to participation with visitors to your camp and also ensuring your camp will run smoothly? What happens if those expectations aren’t met? 

Acculturation Checklist:

  • Burning Man culture 
    • Make sure your campers understand the 10 Principles.
    • Watch this video and look for others that explain the culture and ethos of Burning Man.
    • Discuss some of the more nuanced Principles that may be more difficult for new people to “get” about Burning Man’s culture like the importance of Decommodification and how seriously we take Leave No Trace. Paint a picture of what the Principles look like in action and why they matter to you. 
  • Black Rock City culture
    • Check that they’ve read the Survival Guide.
    • Encourage them to explore information about the event.
    • Establish how they can get support and who can help them when they are figuring out how to go to Black Rock City and/or be part of your camp for the first time.
  • Your camp’s culture 
    • Get clear on your own camp’s culture and values. What sets your camp apart? 
    • Explain how you operate together, and how you communicate with new campers.
    • Set clear and specific expectations with campers for participation before and during the event, and for strike and post-event, if applicable. 
    • Make these expectations easily available in a written document. 

Additional Resources:



Managing a camp comes with all of the fun and challenges that accompany any project that brings people, infrastructure, and creative spirit together. For a bit of inspiration, watch this video of fellow camp leaders at the 2018 Theme Camp Symposium explaining why they do all they do for their camps.

  • Communication
    • Leaders communicate expectations, needs, challenges, ideas, plans, requests, opportunities, decisions, and much more. What does the communication loop between your camp’s leadership and the rest of your camp look like? Whether you use email, social media, or collaboration applications, make sure everyone can access important information and announcements in a timely manner. 
    • Many camps have in-person or virtual meetings throughout the year to discuss ideas, make decisions, and build community. Find the frequency and method that works best for your camp. 
  • Managing people
    • Friends
      • There are many different approaches for leading groups of friends. Openly communicating, staying honest, and speaking up as early as possible when something isn’t working is probably the best advice. If you wait too long and frustration builds, your camp stuff can taint your friendship. 
    • Friends of friends
      • If managing friends is challenging, managing the friends they want to bring with them can be even more so. There’s a common theme when dealing with people, friends or otherwise. Open and honest communication is key. 
    • New friends 
      • Sometimes you bring in total strangers to your camp. There are various reasons to do so and none of them change how you lead them. As a general rule, the more communication with new camp members before getting to the playa, the better. 
  • Appreciating campers
    • Providing feedback is vital. It is sometimes easy to forget what a powerful force positive feedback can be. It can be easy to focus on the things that are going wrong, especially in the midst of camp build or teardown. Remind the people around you that you appreciate them and that their contributions are important. A little praise goes a looooong way. And we hope they’ll appreciate you too! 
  • Cultivating new leaders
    • At some point in time, for some reason you may not be able to fulfill a leadership role in your camp. Life happens, burn-out happens, and if you want your camp to continue, you should think about who might take over for you should you step aside. Share responsibility often so you can identify who is willing and able to be that new leader.
  • Empowerment
    • Does someone have a great idea? Rather than the established leaders taking it on, let the suggestor make it happen! Even if they don’t have the skills, experience, or track record, what better place than Burning Man for someone to take on a project they’re excited about and figure out how to do it? Provide support and mentorship as needed, but let them run with it. 
  • Burn-out
    • Organizing and managing a Burning Man theme camp or village is hard. There comes a point where everyone needs a break and that’s OK. To avoid burn-out, spread as much of the responsibility around as possible. By sharing the load, you can hang in there a lot longer. 
  • Support networks
  • Additional Resources: 

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is part of personal and group growth, but we always want to keep it constructive. Disagreements arise during planning and when you are at BRC. Be prepared so that conflicts don’t get past the point where they can be respectfully managed.

A simple conflict resolution plan should be made available for everyone to review and should include defined steps to resolution and an escalation path for more serious conflicts. Post it somewhere accessible to all. Many camps have a member who has been trained in mediation or conflict management and resolution. Take advantage of their skills.

Additional Resources: 

Camp Symposium 2023:  Conflict Mediation Training – How to Win a Goat Rodeo

Camp Symposium 2022: Leadership and Planning Conflict Prevention, Engagement, and Resolution

Camp Finances

Camp Finances

Small camps (e.g, fewer than 10 members) may not have a shared budget. In a small camp, each member may simply bring whatever resources they have to share. However, most larger camps require members to contribute dues, which might be as little as $50 per person, up to $500 per person or more to make sharing resources within the camp easier to manage. Examples of major expenses for a large camp include: purchase of shade structures, equipment and vehicle rental, communal kitchen supplies, materials for art projects or interactivity plans, storage costs, and the cost of producing high quality swag.

Experience has shown that it is best to have a designated camp treasurer who collects the dues and manages the camp budget. It is the treasurer’s responsibility to collect dues from everyone before getting to the playa, and to maintain an up to date report on camp expenditures.

Additional Resources: 

2023 Camp Symposium: The Pros and Cons of Dues, Deposits, and Other Financial Structures to Motivate Your Camp

2022 Camp Symposium: Finances- Keeping Your Camp in the Black

Fundraising and Burning Man's Intellectual Property

Fundraising and Burning Man’s Intellectual Property

What happens when your ideas grow so big you need to find additional capital to make that idea a reality? Fortunately our community likes to support big ideas, but how do you ask for donations without stepping into any weird legal issues or Decommodification quagmires? Read on to find out more about Burning Man’s IP (intellectual property) and how to decommodify your camp’s fundraising efforts. 

This summary includes:

  1. An overview of Burning Man’s IP and image-use policies and why we care!
  2. Gifting items with Burning Man’s IP or images from BRC
  3. Hosting a fundraising event
  4. Other tips for keeping your fundraising decommodified.

1. Burning Man’s Policies

  • IP and image-use policies are guided by the Ten Principles and aimed at protecting the event, our participants, and the core words and symbols of Burner culture from commercial exploitation.
  • The core trademarks that Burning Man protects are: the Burning Man symbol (logo), “Burning Man,” “Black Rock City,” and “Decompression.”
  • Burning Man protects the copyrights for the design of the Man, the design of the Black Rock City map, and the 10 Principles.
  • We also restrict the commercial use of Burning Man images to protect the event and the privacy of our participants, in service to Decommodification, Radical Self-expression, Immediacy, Participation… Non-personal use of images taken at the event must be approved by Burning Man (typically the Communications team

2. Gifting Items With Burning Man’s IP or Images from BRC

The Burner community is encouraged to incorporate Burning Man IP or images into their BRC artwork and gifts according to these guidelines:


  • Theme camps, mutant vehicles and art installations are gifts to all of Black Rock City. Burning Man participants are welcome to GIFT items that incorporate Burning Man’s trademarks or copyrights as tokens of appreciation to people who support these playa-bound projects, including as “rewards” or “perks” in crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Example: Incorporating the Man symbol or “Burning Man 2018” into your camp or art project logo, and printing it on gifts for people who support your fundraiser OK!
  • If you’re going to use the Man symbol on a pledge gift, be radically self-expressive and create a custom variation that suits your project!


  • You can’t SELL items with Burning Man trademarks, copyrights, or images in any forum, including on peer-to-peer websites like eBay, Etsy, Cafe Press, etc. 
  • Example: Setting up an online shop for your camp with merchandise that incorporates the Man symbol, “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City” NOT OK!
  • If you create gifts that incorporate a Burning Man trademark, copyright or image and you have some left after the event, you can’t sell those leftovers. Likewise, please don’t fundraise for the costs of producing your gifts that’s like selling them for the amount of the donation.
  • Example: Setting up a crowdfunding campaign for the Man symbol jewelry you want to gift at Burning Man this year — NOT OK!

3. Hosting a Fundraising Event

  • If you’re having a fundraising event for your camp or other BRC-bound project, feel free to use “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City” in the event description. Just don’t use these names in ways that suggest the Burning Man organization is hosting or sponsoring your event. 
  • “Decompression” should not be used in connection with your fundraisers. This name is reserved for events produced by Burning Man or the Burning Man Regional Network. 
  • Examples: Saying your fundraiser is for your camp “at Burning Man” or your art project “in Black Rock City” OK!
  • Calling your event a “Burning Man Fundraiser” or “Decompression Party” NOT OK!

4. Other Tips for Keeping Your Fundraising Decommodified

Avoid commodifying the Burning Man experience:

  • Steer clear of offering “VIP” access in exchange for donations a private tour on your Mutant Vehicle, a private party at your camp, etc.
  • REMINDER: Burning Man tickets and vehicle passes can’t be used for fundraising purposes (including as crowdfunding rewards, in auctions, etc.)

Avoid commodifying camp space:

  • Pooling resources and sharing costs with your friends OK!
  • Selling space in your camp to raise money NOT OK!

You can read more on Burning Man’s approach to intellectual property, trademarks and copyrights here, as well as proper use of images and media rights here.

If you see any questionable uses of Burning Man’s IP or imagery, please let us know We appreciate your help!

Additional Resources:

Camp Size

Camp Size

Every year Black Rock City is completely rebuilt and with that comes many changes. Camps grow, camps shrink, camps hibernate for a season, camps wake up. Know what to expect so your camp can navigate inevitable changes in population or enthusiasm.

  • Growth: Sometimes bigger is not better. As a camp lead, it’s super important that you understand your willingness and ability to manage an ever-growing population of campers. It can be challenging when your camp starts as a group of friends, and then the next year everyone wants to invite another friend, and then the year after that they all want to invite their friends, and all of a sudden your camp has doubled or tripled in size. Slow growth is typically the most successful strategy and it helps to have some intention around the maximum size for your camp. 
  • Size thresholds: There are many theories regarding group sizes and the thresholds at which dynamics and complexity changes substantially. If you’re interested, we’d suggest looking up some of the research. One number that’s cited often by camp leaders is Dunbar’s Number, a theory that humans can only comfortably hold up to 150 relationships. There are thresholds at smaller group sizes as well. 
  • Limiting size: The best time to discuss limiting the size of your camp is during the event. Ask the question, is our camp the right size, or should we grow? If the answer to that question is, “We are the right size now”, then start the conversation about how to restrict camp membership next year.
  • Downsizing: Despite our best efforts, life happens in between burns and your once thriving and robust camp may find itself with campers who are not able to make the trip to the desert. Don’t panic! You can do this. It’s totally acceptable to scale back your interactivity offerings should you find yourself with fewer people to make it happen. Keep the potential of future downsizing or size fluctuations in mind as your camp is growing. Sometimes a temporary solution to accommodate more people for one year makes more sense than permanent infrastructure that you find you don’t need next year. 
  • Take a year off: After 15 years of serving grilled carrots and candy bar smoothies you deserve a break! Sometimes a camp just needs to take a breather. If you’re a placed theme camp, you will find Placement happy to work with you and hold your camp in good standing during your break. You have to let Placement know before the Statement of Intent is due, which is typically in January

Managing Playa Logistics

Camp Layout and Logistics

Camp Layout and Logistics

Living in the desert for a week or two takes some planning. Not only do you have to get all of your stuff there, but you need to know where it goes once you arrive. You should know roughly how much space you need, how best to arrange things, and how to light it up so nobody trips/rides over your stuff in the dark of night.

Layout essentials

  • Think about how your camp is contributing to make the frontage of your street a cool place. What does it say when you look down a street and see a full street of vibrant and exciting structures and signage? What does it say when half the camps have cars parked right up on the street and you can’t see the next camp over past the cars? And how does that affect the overall feel of your city block?
  • In designing the layout of your frontage, be aware of not only how it affects your own camp, but also how it affects the vibe/culture/feel of your neighboring camps, city block, and sector.
  • All camps requesting placement are required to submit a camp layout with their questionnaire. Placement uses this to determine how much physical space you will need. 
  • If you camp in open camping or you don’t receive placement, you should still create a layout so you know how much space you need once you get to the playa. Depending on your arrival time to open camping, you may not find all the space you need, but with your plan in hand, you’ll know how you can flex to fit the available space.
  • There are multiple tools for creating a camp plan/layout. Use something that you’re familiar with (perhaps it’s a pencil and graph paper or maybe it’s a software program). If submitting to Placement, it should be as clear and concise as possible. 
  • For more details on Placement’s requirements for camp layouts, see their guidelines here. 

Space Allocation

  • Think about how much space within your camp you need for interactivity that will be open to the public. Then think about the infrastructure and residences and how much space that will need. The overall flow between the public and internal spaces for your camp will impact people’s experiences in your camp.


  • Think about the complete experience of someone visiting your camp, starting from when they see it from a distance and decide to check it out. How will visitors enter and exit your camp? How large or obvious is the opening to enter your camp? 
  • If your camp will have crowds, keep in mind the flow of people from and back to the street, as well as locations for bike parking. 
  • If there are parts of your camp that you’d prefer not to have visitors cutting though, think about how to signal that with your layout.

Your Sides and RV Walls

  • What do the sides of your camp say about you? Are they closed off? An unwelcoming line of RVs or cars? The Placement Team will follow up with you and ask you to change your layout if you submit a layout with RV walls with only an opening for your frontage. 
  • Can you get creative in how you lay out any RVs and vehicles in your camp? Think about what you’d appreciate as a participant if you were walking on the street by your camp. Walls of cars/RVs should be used to frame entrances and pathways. Careless placement can screen off aspects of your frontage that deserve to be highlighted, or can convey an imposing, unwelcoming, or boring feeling. Also, be aware of how your car/RV walls are affecting your neighbors and overall vibe of the street or avenue.
  • Can you do anything visual or creative with the sides of your camp so they look and feel more appealing or interesting?

Emergency Access 

  • Emergency Services (ESD) and Rangers need to be able to get into your camp efficiently. If things are too tightly blocked together, this could be a problem at a time when someone needs immediate help. Make sure there are clear pathways throughout your layout. 

Fire, Fire Lanes, and Fire Safety

  • Camps 100’x100’ or smaller are not required to have a fire lane.
  • Camps/villages are required to have a 20’ fire/service access lane only if:
    • They have a depth greater than 125’ from any frontage on a street,
    • OR They are being serviced by an OSS Vendor for water delivery or pumpouts,
    • OR They are part of the PETROL Fuel Program and require servicing of a generator/fuel tank that is further than 20’ from the street or are within 20’ but have obstructed access. 
  • Read Placement’s rules here for fire lanes. 
  • If your camp has fire, open flames or fire performance, make sure you read the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST)’s rules and recommendations for fire in theme camps.
  • You must also store your fuel properly. Information about fuel storage here.

Managing Parking (or, creative vehicle placement)

  • Oh, the ins and outs of vehicles. Who’s arriving first? Who’s arriving last? Who will leave first? Who will leave last? It’s helpful to have a list of arrival and departure dates for each vehicle. Consider if your layout is flexible enough to accommodate a group of cars that arrives while you’re asleep and parks in a spot that wasn’t planned.
  • Parking of cars must happen within your camp’s layout—there is no parking lot in Black Rock City. Do not use open camping as a parking lot! Open camping is needed for folks who are not part of placed camps and do not have the privilege of arriving early with Setup Access Passes. Please ensure the space you request on your Camp Placement Questionnaire includes fitting all your vehicles inside your camp’s boundaries. 
  • Don’t want those pesky vehicles in your camp? Encourage your campmates to carpool or use the Burner Express. The fewer cars at Burning Man, the better! 


Preparing for Extreme Weather

The Black Rock Desert is wild and unpredictable. High winds, rain, lightning, hail, extreme heat, and near freezing cold are all possibilities during the event. Your camp should have plans in place for all weather conditions. 

  • Secure your structures. Bring more lag bolts, ratchet straps, rope, etc. Be aware of where the winds are coming from once you get on playa and secure your structure. Utilize large vehicles like box trucks to protect tents from prevailing winds.
  • Keep your camp organized and loose objects from flying away. If there’s a dust storm coming, and all your camp’s bikes are in one spot, you can more easily manage them rather than if they’re all over the place.
  • Prolonged rain means no driving on the playa. No driving on the playa means no porta potty or RV servicing. Make sure you have five-gallon buckets and extra garbage bags should you need to fashion an emergency toilet (which you will then seal and take with you when leaving the desert). Gross but true. You can even pack your five-gallon bucket as a weather emergency kit with some toilet paper! 

Additional Resources:

Shade and Other Structures

Shade and Other Structures

There’s a lot to consider to make sure the structure you’re building on playa is safe. Large structures need to be secured properly. All designs are strongly advised to include safety provisions. For more information on building safe and secure structures for your camp, check out Securing Your Structure. If you’re building an art project, Building Safe Structures, is a handy guide.

Additional Resources:



Most of the time we find our neighbors in Black Rock City to be wonderful, supportive, funny, and welcoming, but every so often there’s a little friction between camps. Ninety-nine percent of the time, issues are resolved with open and respectful communication. 

  • Introduce yourself and your camp
    • Be proactive. When you first arrive, say hello to your neighbors! Introduce yourselves and your camp. Let them know who to come to if they have a problem. When your neighbors arrive from their long journey, greet them, offer them water and introduce yourselves. Welcome them to the neighborhood! 
    • When an issue arises with your neighbor, it’s easy to get frustrated and build them up in your mind into a Burning Man villain before you even walk over to talk (or yell) about it. Do your best to calmly discuss any issues with your neighbor when those issues come up. Assume your neighbors have positive intent. Make sure you let all your camp members know how to interact with neighbors, or to always send them straight to the right contact. One bad interaction can ruin all your hard work setting up relationships with them.
  • Tips for resolving issues on your own
  • There are neighborly ways to address problems. First, it helps to know or ask who in the camp to talk to versus talking to (or yelling at) the first person you see. Do you like to be told what to do in a yelling tone by someone you just met? Most people don’t. Discuss how to solve the problem together versus telling them what they should do right-!@*%ing-now. Make sure you’ve both had enough water. Sit down together. Take the high road against drama.
  • If you’re in over your head, you can request assistance from the Black Rock Rangers. If you have a neighbor that consistently isn’t collaborating to solve problems, make sure your Placer is also aware of the situation.
  • Not everyone wants to sleep when you do
    • Remember, Burning Man is loud. There are no quiet hours or official quiet areas in Black Rock City. Be radically self-reliant and make sure your campers are prepared with earplugs, battery-powered white noise machines, whatever they need to sleep. Help acculturate your new campers to this landscape. Familiarize yourself with the sound policy so you know what’s Ok-loud versus not-Ok loud. 
  • Get to know your neighborhood before you get to the playa
  • Neighborliness issues
    • The most common issues among neighboring camps are sound and generator noise. Guess what, those are both preventable! See the previous section on Camp Layouts and the following section on Generators and Power for how to best plan your generator’s placement. Set expectations with your campers about who may touch those volume dials and review the Black Rock City Sound Policy

Additional Resources:

Interactivity and Frontage

Interactivity and Frontage

Theme camps form the heart of Black Rock City. Big, small, loud, quiet, these are the places created to entertain, entice, and inform the citizenry. Interactivity is a key component to a successful theme camp and its definition is, thankfully, broad. Frontage (or visual stimulation, or curb appeal) is also an important aspect of being a theme camp. 

Note: Interactivity and frontage are not criteria for other camp categories. This only applies to theme camps requesting placement. While it may not be required for your camp category, it sure is lovely to provide interactive experiences for your neighbors regardless! And there are many theme camps in open camping who prefer not to be placed.

  • Interactivity is defined in the Camp Placement Criteria for theme camps and villages. It’s the primary “thing” theme camps and villages do. It’s the reason why your camp hopefully receives placement in Black Rock City. You’re not placed because of your delicious camper meal plan or your badass power grid; you’re placed because of the interactivity, frontage, and overall offering your camp provides to all citizens of Black Rock City. 
  • Designing your camp’s interactivity
    • Ask yourself and your campmates—How do we want to participate in Black Rock City? What gifts do we have for the community (both literal gifts and gifts like your skills, abilities, talents, etc)? What experiences do we want people to have when they come to our camp and interact with us? What can our camp community do in Black Rock City that we may not be able to do in the default world? 
  • Make a plan, stick to it
    • On your placement questionnaire, you’ll describe your plans for interactivity. As the event gets closer, it’s time to get more specific. What exactly will your camp be doing? Who will be doing what? When will it be happening? What materials or preparations do you need in order for it to happen? How are you ensuring it will actually happen?
  • Frontage—create visually stimulating, open, and inviting spaces
    • Frontage is a component of the Placement Team’s Theme Camp Criteria. You should have a plan for what your camp looks like from the outside. 
    • When someone is walking or biking down the street, what will they see? How will people know you’re a theme camp? What about your camp would compel them to get off their bike and come participate? What type of visual experience do you want to create? How does it connect to your interactivity? These are just some of the questions you can ask when planning your frontage. 
  • Night Lighting
    • If your camp wants placement on the Esplanade, Portal, Plaza, or Avenue, your camp needs a plan for night lighting. How can you bring lighting into your frontage plans? What will it look and feel like to those walking down the street at night past your camp? If your camp’s interactivity is primarily after dark, then night lighting should be even more important. Also, consider going solar! 
  • Clarify your camp’s “public” space and “private” space
    • We put those in quotes because technically all of Black Rock City is public! Make sure your public space feels public, open and inviting. People shouldn’t have to seriously question whether they’re “allowed” into a public space. 
    • Clearly define your public space from your “back of house” space, but do not make barriers or signs like, Private: Campers Only, for your private space. Create a welcoming space for your visitors, and create a safe space for your campmates. 
    • Plan your camp layout based on the proportions needed for camp interactivity, frontage, and your back of house or living areas. 
  • But I’m not a registered theme camp! Or… I didn’t get placement! 
    • Yes! There are many theme camps that prefer to be in open camping and don’t want to deal with the placement process.
    • Interactivity and frontage are components any camp can do whether your camp is placed or not, and no matter what your camp’s category is! 

Additional Resources:

Kitchens and Food Safety

Kitchens and Food Safety

Nobody wants to get sick out there and nobody wants to make others sick. To prevent foodborne illness on the playa, the Central Nevada Health District (CNHD) has requirements for camps serving food or beverages, including the need for a health permit. You must apply to the CNHD and be permitted as a Temporary Food Establishment if:

  • you wish to share, cook, or serve food or non-alcoholic beverages to the general Burning Man population (gifting food)(regardless of # served)
  • you will be cooking or serving food to more than 125 fellow campers in your camp.

You can find information about this year’s application and deadlines on the CNHD website here

If you have a communal kitchen shared by 125 or more campers but meals are prepared individually or in smaller quantities than for 125 persons, a permit is not required. However, we highly recommend you research and review the videos on the site and the “Burning Man Self Checklist” found on the CNHD website’s information page. 

There are many ways to structure a kitchen. Some camps have communal meal plans (some do one meal, two meals, or three meals per day), some camps share groceries but individuals make their own food, and some camps do not collaborate on food. The amount of infrastructure and equipment you’ll need for your kitchen depends on the size of your camp and how extensive or simple your food plans are.

Additional Resources:

Camp Safety and Security

Camp Safety and Security

Here’s a roundup of key safety information:




Black Rock City is a pedestrian-friendly environment that lends itself to walking and biking. Bikes are the most popular mode of transportation on the playa and that means there are a lot of them! Bikes are super useful but, on occasion, they become problematic.

  • Parking: Every camp should plan for bike parking. Even if you’re a small camp with a few personal bikes, you’ll need a place to park and lock your bikes when you aren’t using them. 
  • Crowds: Camps that attract many visitors should provide adequate bike parking space to prevent a pile of metal and rubber from appearing out of nowhere. It’s super important to keep the city streets clear for pedestrians, water trucks and emergency vehicles, especially at night! Rangers will ask you to clear bikes if they are spilling out into the street. 
  • Repairs: As with any situation on the playa, you should be prepared to deal with common bike repairs. Be sure to pack multiple replacement tubes that fit any bike you bring with you. A small tool set that works with your bike will also come in handy. If you’re lucky, there’s a camp nearby who is gifting bike repair services, but you can’t count on that and you will still need to supply tubes.. 
  • E-Bikes, scooters and more: Make sure you’ve read the DMV’s rules on personal transport vehicles. If it’s not on their list, it’s not allowed in Black Rock City. Ensure your campers are aware of these rules so they don’t haul something they can’t use. 
  • Decor: Personalize your ride. Let it represent you in all possible ways! Personalized decorations will help you quickly find and identify your bike when you park it with hundreds of others. Consider lights on bikes for night safety reasons as well as to help find your bike at night. Here are more tips on personal bikes. 
  • Locks. Unfortunately, bike theft is not uncommon, so bikes should have locks (Combination locks are good because you don’t need to worry about losing keys.)



Sound Policy:

  • Read in full here. The following guidelines make up our basic sound policy:
    1. Neighbors should talk to one another when sound becomes a problem and try to resolve the issue through direct communication.
      • As a community, we need to work together to keep sound at desirable levels. This means that everyone is personally responsible for how they affect everyone else’s experience.
      • If your neighbor believes your sound is too loud, you must work with them to find an acceptable volume. You will need to check in with those you are camped near to find out what other events are planned and work with them to create a schedule. With these actions you should be able to handle all of your own sound issues.
      • If everyone works together there will be no need for Black Rock Rangers to get involved. A community effort is needed to pull this off.
    2. Large-scale sound installations (colloquially known now as Sound Camps) MUST be located in the Large Scale Sound Zone (facing 2:00 and 10:00 avenues). They may express themselves unless community complaints persist. Camps on Esplanade may amplify sound 100’ into the open playa before conversational levels are expected. 
    3. Within the city, sound systems should point internally within the camp producing the sound. Sound amplification should only be loud enough so that people can speak at a conversational level at the border of a neighboring camp or at the center point of a street, whichever is nearest to the source of the sound. 
    4. Conversational levels are defined as 60 decibels (dbA mid-range frequencies) at the border of a neighboring camp or at the center point of a street, whichever is nearest to the source of the sound. Bass level (dbC – low-range frequencies) shall be negotiated with neighbors.
    5. Any complaints about excessive sound will become the concern of the Black Rock Rangers. Concerns about excessive sound can result in:
      • Volume check and mediation between camps
      • Volume check and a final warning on complaints
      • Disabling of equipment
      • Notification of the Placement Team and possible impact to a camp’s standing and future placement

Sound Recommendations:

We also wanted to share the below fantastic sound recommendations from Noah Reson-Brown from the Theme Camp Cult of the Magic Lady. We’ve shortened it slightly below for this format., The original post online is here.

Hey amplified sound camps with a DJ! Wanna avoid noise complaints? It’s doable… but there’s a method to the madness.

  1. First and foremost, DJs should never control their own volume. They can’t hear the sound hitting the audience because they’re not in the audience! Your volume control (usually on a sound board) should be handled by someone in a position out in the audience.
  2. You know that 90db at 20 feet limit? That’s too liberal of a limit. 85db is already causing hearing loss. A good sound system REALLY doesn’t have to be that loud to be good. Proper speaker position can make that work.
  3. But the DJ wants it loud! That’s fine… aim a monitor speaker (which just plays back what he’s playing) directly at his head from close range. Preferably two, one from each side. Now he gets to hear his sound nice and loud.
  4. You can also place the speakers behind the DJ, so the DJ hears everything and gets deafened by his own noise. There’s a reason you see those big speaker walls behind some concert shows… it’s to make sure the musicians get to deafen themselves as much as they want. If the speakers are in front of the DJ, they don’t hear it nearly as well.
  5. Speakers (other than the subs) should be elevated above head height. Low speakers will bounce sound along the playa, scattering it to your neighbors… plus much of the noise is dampened by the bodies of the dancers before it hits ears. If your speakers are higher and aimed down, you can aim the sound at the center of your dance floor/party space and use much lower volume to get the same effect on the floor, while heavily reducing sound outside your dance floor. When aiming sound, remember that speakers generally spread about 60 degrees horizontally and 40 degrees vertically in their peak sound area. For most purposes, you want the speakers at just above head height, generally on standard tripods. Bigger camps will want to go higher. None of this applies to subs, whose noise is so low it doesn’t matter. Low pitch sounds scatter heavily, and aren’t dampened much by people. Plus those things are heavy. Leave ’em on the ground.
  6. Elevated speakers must be well secured. Speakers falling on people sucks. Please don’t moop the blood of your attendees. It’s rude. This is especially true if you stack your main speakers on your subs for height… strap that shit down. Subs vibrate, which can dance a speaker right off, even without wind.
  7. Aim the speakers through your own camp, not straight out into the playa (or at neighbors) where possible [Placement Note: EXCEPT if you’re an LSSA Camp with frontage on 10:00 or 2:00 avenues]. The nearest sleeping area to the front of your speakers should be your own sleeping area. If you can’t sleep, that should tell you something. This is especially important for those “running all-night ambient sound” camps with a pair of speakers on stands.
  8. You can put solid padded material (such as plywood with egg crate foam on it) in position to bounce and dampen sound waves away from areas you don’t want it to go. Your neighbors will love this.
  9. If the music’s playing, someone in camp who can operate the sound system should be there at all times. That person should be easily accessible for your neighbors/rangers who get called in because your neighbors are going insane. Be nice to your neighbors!
  10. If you can, two sets of speakers, one set further out than the other, beats the heck out of one speaker set that’s just really loud. If you do this, you’ll need a delay system or your music will be impossible to understand (especially anything vocal).

Remember, you too can avoid noise complaints!

Generators and Power

Generators and Power

There is an entire page devoted to generators! Check out the Generators page for tips on using a genny in your camp. The most important aspect for camps to consider (beyond the power itself) is how your generator will impact your neighbors. Where are you placing the generator in the context of your camp? 

Rule of thumb for things that are unpleasant (generators, toilets, light towers, etc)—if your camp is going to enjoy the benefits, then your camp should also deal with the downsides of them (smell, noise, light, etc). Don’t place these things on your camp border so your neighbors have to deal with the downsides while you enjoy the conveniences. Try and put them as deep into your camp’s layout as possible. 

Additional Resources:

Deliveries to Black Rock City

Deliveries to Black Rock City

Sometimes you make really big plans and will need to rely on Outside Services to deliver infrastructure into Black Rock City. Options available for arranging deliveries to the playa are explained on the Arranging Deliveries page.

Leaving No Trace (LNT)

Leaving No Trace (LNT)

Our event could not exist without vigilant participants packing out their equipment, recyclables, trash, and everything else they brought with them. 

There’s a ton of information on our Leaving No Trace page that will help you manage your LNT efforts! Note that your camp’s LNT history will be heavily weighted when evaluating future applications for placement. 

Additional Resources:

Other Resources

Camp Symposium

Camp Symposium

Once a year camp leaders get together to support each other and share ideas, challenges, and tactics for putting together the best possible camps. 

  • History:
    • The Theme Camp Forum began in 2012 and became the Camp Symposium in 2016. In 2017 the Camp Symposium began inviting Mutant Vehicle Camps and Art Support Camps to the Symposium because in the end, camps are camps are camps! Now, it’s called the Camp Symposium because there are many different types of camps at Burning Man. The Camp Symposium has historically taken place in March. 
  • Agendas/Sessions from past Camp Symposiums:

Campfire Talks

Campfire Talks is a monthly series hosted by Burning Man Project’s Camp Network Team comprised of volunteers from Black Rock City’s theme camp community. The series brings together theme camp organizers by the virtual campfire to feature their stories, share their knowledge, discuss timely topics, and to find new ways to connect.

Online Communities Directory

Online Communities Directory

We know that before the Man goes up in flames you’re already thinking about plans for next year, and fortunately you’re not alone. There are various resources that are active all year long where you can discuss your next big idea or give help to those who are just figuring this theme camp thing out.


“Drone On” (Photo by Mike Muench)

In response to the growing popularity of remote controlled aircraft, helicopters and multi-copters (aka UAV or drones), Burning Man has established regulations under the Black Rock City Safety Team, and updated its guidelines for registering, and the terms and conditions for flying RC aircraft in Black Rock City.

Like mutant vehicles, BRC regulates all RC aircraft and requires that they be operated responsibly, and are subject to restricted fly zones and other rules of operation. The goal is to streamline the registration process, have all RC pilots be familiar with flying in the city, and make it safer for all Burning Man participants.

The FAA requires all pilots of RC aircraft flying within 5 miles of an airport to notify that airport of their operations. Virtually all of Black Rock City is within 5 miles of 88NV, Black Rock City Municipal Airport, and completing the online registration and on-playa briefing meets this requirement.

2024 Drone Information:

The drone application for 2024 opens Monday, June 17, 2024. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the 2024 drone policies here.

Participation Videos

Welcome to the Participate Video Channel. Watch, Enjoy and Know: this channel is a work in progress. To see other video channels that have been created, visit our YouTube channel.

LOVE Project

Videos about the vast variety of ways to volunteer at Burning Man


DPW Playa Restoration – The Great MOOP March


On Boobs and Bacon


Burners Without Borders: Music Box

See All Videos

First-Time Volunteers

If this will be your first Burn and you are considering volunteering at Burning Man, you’re in the right place! The Burner community considers volunteering as a gift to the community and an opportunity for civic participation. This is one of the qualities that makes Burning Man the unique experience that is so close to our hearts.

Things to Know

    • Unlike many other events, volunteering at Burning Man does not automatically equal a ticket. If it does occur, it usually applies to volunteers who work within the organization year-round and are highly accountable. These are not roles that are easy to jump into.
    • So, as a rule of thumb, you should always use your own methods to obtain your ticket, and not expect to receive it from the team for which you volunteer.
    • If you are interested in volunteering for a team managed by Burning Man, choose no more than two teams on your volunteer questionnaire. The questionnaire is in your Burner Profile, and info about teams can be found on this page.
  • The only way to get subscribed to Burning Man’s volunteer announce list is by filling out a volunteer questionnaire.
  • Burning Man is built and experienced based on the strength of its community. To tap into the community for info and to share resources, keep an eye on ePlaya.
  • Burning Man, among many things, is also an exercise in self reliance. It’s important to take the time to read the First Timer’s Guide and Preparation sections of the website.

How to Volunteer for a Burning Man Team

Fill out a volunteer questionnaire and check your desired team(s) on the form.

If you don’t hear back from the team in a couple weeks, send them an email (you can find the team’s contact info in the Volunteer Teams section).

The following teams recruit new volunteers every year. However, please note, many of these teams are done with recruitment as early as May:

  • Airport
  • Air Playa Info (Reno Airport)
  • Artery (limited opportunities)
  • Arctica
  • Center Camp Cafe
  • Cleanup/Leave No Trace
  • DPW (only for cleanup after the event)
  • DMV
  • Earth Guardians
  • Greeters
  • Lamplighters
  • Media Mecca
  • Placement, Camp Support, and PEERS
  • Playa Info
  • Pottie Project
  • Recycle Camp
  • SF Office Volunteers (SF Bay Area residents only)
  • Community Events (year-round, SF Bay Area)
  • Tech Team (mainly year-round and not during the event)
  • Temple Guardians
  • Volunteer Resource Team (mostly but not limited to SF Bay Area residents)

These teams do not recruit first year burners:

  • Artery
  • Box Office
  • BMIR, unless highly skilled and come highly recommended
  • ESD, unless experienced in a specific needed area and come with awesome recommendation from a long time ESD team member
  • Gate, Perimeter, and Exodus
  • Rangers

Volunteering Pre-and Post-Event

Access to the playa during setup and cleanup time is strictly limited to the setup and cleanup crew. Every team, theme camp or art project has its own setup and cleanup team. To find out more, contact the team, theme camp, or art project directly.

Volunteering for a Burning Man Project

Fill out a volunteer questionnaire.

Browse the projects (art installations, theme camps, mutant vehicles, or whatever) seeking help on Spark and/or create a listing advertising your skills.

You can also do the same on the ePlaya.

Volunteering in Your Region

To volunteer in your own region, fill out a volunteer questionnaire and contact your local regional group.

Volunteering on Playa

During the event, you can always stop by the V-Spot in the Portals of Center Camp and the 3:00 and 9:00 Civic plazas to find out about volunteer opportunities whenever you’re in the mood! No need to sign up before the event, but, if you do volunteer, remember to fill out a volunteer questionnaire after the event.

Fire Art Guidelines

Fire Balls (Photo by C. J. Evans)

Fire art is part of the essential fabric of Black Rock City, and to keep creating it, we need to do so safely. Whether you’re incorporating fire into your art installation, theme camp, mutant vehicle or performance, it’s essential that you don’t harm others or the playa. This section contains important information about creating fire art safely and exhibiting it on playa.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information thoroughly, and for wanting to create fire art for Burning Man. Now… let’s burn some stuff! Safely!

Getting There and Back

While it’s been said “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” at Burning Man, we think it’s a little of both.

Here’s info about all the different ways to get to Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man, as well as important information about traffic to and from the event, helpful resources in nearby towns, and entertaining attractions along the way.

Avoid the Traffic!

As we have 60,000+ participants traveling to and from Black Rock City along a two-lane rural highway every year, traffic (and avoiding it) can be a significant part of the Burning Man experience. Learn how to beat the traffic to and from Black Rock City.

Driving to Black Rock City

From the East (starting in New York City)

Driving to Burning Man from across the country…

If you’re crossing the United States to Burning Man, you’re likely traveling on Interstate 80 or Highway 50 when you hit Nevada, the seventh largest state and home to Burning Man. If you’re traveling from due east, you’ll be traveling on I-80; from the southeast, on Hwy 50. On either road it’s approximately 450 miles from the Utah border to BRC.

Indeed, one of the best ways to experience Nevada is driving across the state along either road. Known alternately as “Big Sky Country” or “The Great Basin”, you’ve never seen so many different mountain ranges, each separated by immense valleys, along a very, very long straight road dotted all so rarely by small towns and occasional ruins.

One could say every journey to BRC is filled with excitement, apprehensiveness, and attractions. But driving across Nevada can prepare you for the best burn ever.


You can get a hint of what it was like for every traveler coming from the east searching for a new home and making the Wild West. It seems you could stop just about anywhere with so much land, and stop for good — but the vast majority of people just can’t survive, let alone thrive, for long. The elements and temperature are extreme, the land relatively barren, and resources for the average person are non-existent between each town. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is not a bad metaphor here. The strength gathered simply from driving this long and lonely stretch can make for a better week on the playa at Burning Man. Just be prepared before setting off, making sure you have enough gas and supplies and your vehicle is 100%.

And take it easy.

With very minimal emblems of living civilization in this apparently vast desert void, on a certain level it’s simply easier to not be distracted and burdened with externals. If you don’t stop and just wander off on foot into the desert where no person has stepped before (or at least for a very long time), your mind can simply wander in awe with the vastness. You may find your self more easily, and you may come to better cope if anything has been bothering you. You may also catch glimpses of forever, and may be struck by the raw, stark beauty of the “high desert” you’ve never ever imagined anywhere. On the other hand, you’ll need to be rested and keep your attention along either the long road of I-80 or Hwy 50. If you are tired or not centered, you should probably pull over and take a rest — there are plenty of places to stop. You will remain alive and alert as a result. Indeed, accomplishing this last leg of the journey, across Nevada, may very well make you more alive than ever for life in BRC.

Directions to BRC

Whether you’re traveling along I-80 or Hwy 50, you will want to head to Fernley. Once in Fernley, take Exit #46. You can get gas here. Head north on Hwy 445 for one mile. you’re now in Wadsworth of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Turn right on Hwy 447 and head north. 76 miles to Gerlach, and then another 10 miles north on State Route 34 to Burning Man.


There are also places to get gas and supplies along either I-80 or Hwy 50. Indeed, in order to save on gas and weight on your vehicle, many burners have figured out it may be best to get most if not all of your essential supplies in the few remaining towns nearer to BRC.

Along I-80, Lovelock has plenty of gas, lodging and other supplies options. Or, if you’re coming up on Hwy 50, you can stop in Fallon. And along either road, you can also stop in Fernley before heading north for the final 100 mile stretch to BRC. Also, all three of these towns are still struggling after the Great Recession of 2008-2012, so they sure do value your support. Just please remember that these are relatively conservative communities, and you should conduct yourself appropriately, respecting properties, local laws and customs, and driving the speed limit and being fully clothed.

Finally, as always: On the exodus from BRC, please remember to LEAVE NO TRACE. There are ample trash and recycling locations to be found after leaving BRC. Do not deposit your waste at rest areas, behind convenience stores, or at a home – the future of Burning Man depends on it!

From the Pacific Northwest

How to get to Burning Man from British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, even Northern California!

Welcome to the northern route directions! If you are going to Burning Man and live in Oregon, Washington or British Columbia, these directions offer the best route and tips for driving from your home to Black Rock City. These directions will take you from Eugene, OR to Black Rock City, NV.

While we would love to offer custom directions to get you from your doorstep to Black Rock City, the person that writes the directions (ME!) is too stinking lazy. So instead of investing in a custom-designed mapping engine, we have invested in a six-pack of root beer and laid out the directions as best as we could remember. Then we augmented our research by scanning the Yellow Pages and bothering friends for more information. The end result is a treasure trove of misinformation neatly organized and constantly updated. It also offers a newer, faster route that takes people past a really neat hot spring. Why aren’t we telling you about that one? Face it, we are trying to guarantee we have a camping spot.

We would be darned surprised if you didn’t have better things to do than to read through the information on the arf site, so we have summarized the more useful information right here for easy access.


Although the directions make perfect sense to me, perhaps we should explain how they are laid out. Each segment is broken down as travel between destination spots and the approximate mileage between the landmarks along the way. This is to give better details on your progress and to give the navigator who was appointed to the job simply because he yelled, “shotgun” something to do besides sticking their hand out the window and waving it up and down in the wind. Just be happy they are not yelling obnoxious comments like, “MOO!” to any cows you pass. Feel free to print out several copies and take them with you. That way, you have more copies to lose.

Oh, by the way, before we start, can we suggest that you place your tickets for Burning Man in an envelope, then securely tape your tickets to the inside of your glove box? This lessens the chance that you will leave them in a truck stop bathroom or on the kitchen counter at home.

We break out the journey from each point in mileage and the approximate time it should take to legally drive from point A to point B. Your actual time may vary depending on your lead foot or your lead ass. For instance, we list that our starting point Eugene, Oregon is 168 miles from Klamath Falls, Oregon. We estimate it will take you 4 hours of normal driving time. This assumes you didn’t get stuck behind a herd of semi trucks crawling from Oakridge to the top of the pass at 10 mph. We also break out the distance between certain landmarks and add in interesting points along the way. Actually calling some of these places towns may be giving them a little more justice than they deserve. Some have nothing more than a post office and a few abandoned stores. The only place we can safely say has services such as gas stations and stores are the towns that we identify. Otherwise, you may see an open gas station on the road or you may not.

The Starting Point

Our starting point is Eugene, Oregon. If you are coming from Seattle, it should take you 5 hours. If coming from Vancouver, BC, it should take 9 hours, minus border hassles. If you are coming from Spokane, WA or Bend, OR, pick up the route where you feel it works for you. Are you ready? Here we go!

Eugene to Klamath Falls, Oregon
Distance: 168 mi.
Driving time: 4 hours

From Eugene you will pass through the Willamette National Forest with breathtaking views and wonderful Douglas Firs. This is the last time on the journey you will see trees like this. From here on out the land becomes more arid as you go.

Just south of Eugene, take exit #188A to OR-58 (Willamette HWY) towards Oakridge/Klamath Falls. Keep going left at the fork in the ramp.
Take OR-58 to US-97 (86 mi total).
You will pass through Goshen (6.6 mi).
You will pass through Pleasant Hill (4 mi).
You will pass through Trent (4 mi).
You will pass through Minnow (7.2 mi).
You will pass through Crale (5.7 mi).
You will pass through Hampton (4 mi).
You will pass through Willamette City (9.5 mi).
You will pass through Oakridge (1.4 mi).
Note: This is the last town of any size until Klamath Falls.
Note: Kitson Hot Springs is 4.6 mi away down Kitson Springs Rd.
You will pass through McCredie Springs (10 mi – 18 min).
You will cross the Willamette Pass (5,128 ft).
You will pass Crescent Lake.
You will pass through Crescent Lake Junction (24 mi – 42 min).
You will reach US-97. Turn slightly right and head south for Klamath Falls (16.7 mi).
Note: If you need gas or food, La Pine is 28 mi north on US-97.
Take US-97 to Klamath Falls (78 mi total).
You will pass through Chemult (11 mi).
You will pass thorough Beaver Marsh (18 mi).
You will pass by Modoc Point (50 mi).
At Modoc, you will follow the shoes of Upper Klamath Lake into Klamath Falls (20 mi).
You will pass through Algoma (21 mi).
Welcome to Klamath Falls.


Klamath Falls to Alturas, CA
Distance: 100 mi.
Driving time: 2.5 hours

You have to weave through Klamath Falls before you head off to Merrill, then on to California. It is approximately 24 mi to the border. The entire town closes down at 11:00 PM. There is not a single grocery store open until 7:00 AM. The only thing open late is a Denny’s located next to the Safeway.

Stay straight to go onto KIT CARSON WAY. (2 mi).
Stay straight to go onto OR-39 (5 mi).
You will pass through Merrill, OR (12 mi – 30 min).
In California, OR-39 becomes CA-139. Head south to CA-299 (56 mi total).
You will pass through Tule Lake (8 mi – 15 min).
You will pass through Newell (7 mi – 14 min).
You will pass by Copic (2 mi).
You pass through a California Agricultural Station (think of it as a border crossing). You will be asked pointed questions about certain fruits and vegetables you might be carrying (12 mi).
You will pass by Perez (2.6 mi).
You will pass through Ambrose (20 mi).
Continue to the intersection of CA-139 and CA-299 (8 mi).
Take a left at CA-299 and head East to Alturas, CA (19 mi).
Just past the interchange, you will pass through Canby (1 mi).
Welcome to Alturas, CA.


Alturas, CA to Cedarville, CA
Distance: 23 mi.
Driving time: 32 minutes

After leaving Alturas, there is nothing in the way of services until Cedarville. The Cedarville Pass is 6,305 ft and from the top of the pass to Cedarville is very steep and windy road. If you ride your brakes, they can easily overheat and catch fire. Also, beware of cows that congregate on the roadway halfway down. No, I am not kidding.

CA-299 becomes US-395 outside of Alturas. I think right at Main Street.
Continue past the California Agricultural Station to the turn off for CA-299 to Cedarville (6 mi).
Take CA-299 to Cedarville. Along the way you cross the Cedar Pass (6,305 ft) (17 mi).
Welcome to Cedarville, CA. Here you’ll find gas, food and groceries. See our Cedarville information page for a full listing of businesses.


Cedarville, CA to Gerlach, NV
Distance: 83 mi.
Driving time: 2.5 hours

This is the most desolate stretch of the journey. The only business along the way between Cedarville and Gerlach is Planet X Potter a few miles outside of Gerlach. There are almost no houses and I do not know if the ones along the route are occupied or not.

Turn right at the gas station (after gassing up) and continue south to Gerlach on CA-447 (82 mi).
The road is actually called Surprise Valley RD.
You will pass through Eagleville (15 mi – 26 min).
In the distance to the left, you will see Middle Alkali and Lower Alkali Lake.
The color of the road completely changes. Welcome to Nevada (8 mi – 15 min).
You will notice the lack of anything except hills and scrub bushes.
You pass Planet X Pottery (50 mi – 1 hour 30 min).
You arrive in Gerlach (10 mi – 15 min).


Gerlach, to Burning Man
Distance: 11 mi.
Driving time: 20 minutes

We can’t emphasize this enough, when in Gerlach and the surrounding suburbs, drive below the speed limit. You will see more police officers in Gerlach than you saw during your entire journey. They have no problem writing tickets for any offense. However, it has been our experience that the officers will treat you with the same amount of respect that you show them. So our advice is to be courteous to the locals and participants alike. Remember, anything you do reflects on the event as a whole.

Head north from Gerlach to the fork in the road (1 mi).
Veer right and continue on NV-34 (11 mi).
On the right side of the road you should see the entrance of the event. Follow the signs posted by Burning Man staff to conclude the journey. There will be directions on how to get to the event from here. Follow the posted signs, drive below the speed limit and if you for some reason cannot find your way, stop at a bar and ask for directions. I highly recommend that you top off your tank before heading out to the event.

From the North (starting in Canada)
by Blackstrap Jack

Why is Burning Man so popular amongst Canadians? The theories are many-kinship with dust, higher national creativity average, the promise of warmth-but none of them really have much to do with the subject at hand. The thing is, every year more and more Canadians travel to Black Rock City, and there’s one particular aspect of our experience which American Burners won’t have to participate in… you guessed it, the border crossing!

Nothing against the nice Customs officials who work so hard to keep America safe from our socialized medicine, shockingly low dollar and poutine, but no one likes crossing the border. Personally, I do everything but slap a Jesus sticker on my window to get through without worry-and I’m not even doing anything wrong. Then there’s the drive. “Oooh, wah, San Francisco’s 10 hours away!” Try 20 or 30 hours, baby, across vast mountainous terrain, international boundaries and some pretty peculiar customs (did you know you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon? It’s a fact!). With that in mind, we’ve put together a short list of do’s and don’t’s to help better facilitate the Canadian experience of getting to Burning Man.

Wear nice clothes when crossing the border. Think picnic with mom and dad; think “Nothing suspicious here, officer”. Think about waiting ’til you’re in Washington to dye your hair blue; think about removing a few of those facial piercings, just for the drive down. Remember, you can be denied entry for no particular reason-why make it any easier for them to just say no? A clean face (guys, shave!), clear eyes and a casual smile will go a long way toward hearing those six magic words: “You have a good day now.”

Don’t even think about carrying across the line. Remember, Burning Man observes all state and federal laws, especially those dealing with certain substances that shall remain nameless on this page. No matter the proximity to Canada, no matter the shared geography or dangerously similar cultural signifiers, never forget that you are travelling to a foreign country. Watch Midnight Express before you pack. Vacuum your car before you travel-especially if you’re borrowing a vehicle. Clean out the ashtrays, look under the seats, dig behind the cushions. Wipe down the windows, even if you don’t smoke. It may seem like a lot of work for no particular reason, but look on the bright side: you’ll be showroom fresh for that long drive south.

Pick an alternate route. Unless you’re in one of those real hard hurries where you have to drive straight through from Vancouver, Calgary or Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump, why subject yourself to that grey, concrete highway rush? Okay, if you’re coming from anywhere on the west coast of B.C., it only makes sense to take the I-5 through Washington, but there’s a few nice choices once you hit Oregon. Split east at Salem (Highway 22) or Albany (Highway 20) and travel the lava fields through Bend; the roads are smooth and empty and very relaxing. At Bend, take highway 97 south to La Pine (nice state park in La Pine), then either keep going straight on through to Klamath Falls for last- minute shopping (for car parts, Schuck’s is very helpful and it’s right on the highway) or skip it and take Highway 31 direct to Alturas-the only logical route to Black Rock City for northwestern travelers. At Alturas, you want to grab 299 to Cedarville, but in between the two you pass through Modoc National Forest, which has a very nice campsite (it’s FREE!) that usually fills with Burners on Sunday before the event starts; it’s a great place to catch your breath and make some pre-playa friends. After Cedarville, take the 447 to Gerlach and you’re home free!

If you’re coming from Alberta, try taking the Highway 12 across the Rockies from Missoula, Montana into Idaho, then heading south. You’ll travel some pretty impressive country and save some time. As for Ontario, well, that’s just too damn far away-find your own way down. Your regional contact [link to BRCYR: regional contacts] might have some suggestions about travel from your area, too.

Don’t tell the Customs official that you’re going to Burning Man, unless he specifically asks. Do tell the truth (“We’re going camping!”), but when asked where, build it into a list (“Oh, Washington, Oregon, California,maybe Nevada”). Unless you’re taking down either an installation or an art car, make sure there’s nothing too obvious lying around to tip your hand (a giant teapot, jars of body paint, a Burning Man Survival Guide on the dash): remember, the fewer questions, the better. If pushed, tell them even more of the truth (“We’re hoping to reach Black Rock City, Nevada”). Be sure to mention “Nevada:” it invokes the secret gambling vibe, which Customs officials understand, and like. Okay, if it comes right down to it, admit you’re going to Burning Man, but whatever you do, don’t make it sound like you’re performing there. You may (like the Vancouver-based DJ’s in 1999) be denied entry because you don’t have a work permit to cover your “performance.” In the event this happens, don’t cause a fuss; just get back in your car, turn around, and try a different border crossing. And never, ever, show them your ticket. It may just vanish. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Know your passengers! If carpooling, make sure your fellow travelers have no skeletons in their closets. If they do, and U.S. Customs finds out, you’ll be forevermore painted with the same brush on ALL subsequent visits. People have been refused entry for things like having an impaired driving conviction or a shoplifting offense. Also, if you just met your fellow travelers, learn a little about each other and make sure you have a story ready about how you all met (they have been known to ask).

Importing multiple items for gifting, such as t-shirts, stickers, sew-on crests or hockey sticks, can be problematic. Customs simply cannot accept that fact that people give things away for free. Better alternatives are mailing the items to an American friend before the event, or spreading the bounty over several vehicles and then converging on the playa. Also, when travelling through Montana or Idaho, it’s a good idea to refrain from flying your “freak flag high” until you’re a little closer to Black Rock City (like, Gerlach). Both states, though friendly, are fairly conservative: the better you blend into the blacktop, the smoother your trip will be.

Make sure the vehicle in which you’re travelling is in good condition. Whether you’re heading out of Vancouver, coming in from Alberta or doing the high plains drifter from Ontario, Black Rock City is a long way from anywhere in Canada, and our old dollar ain’t what it used to be. Vehicle repairs are expensive anywhere in the States, so give it a once-over before you leave and carry a basic emergency kit for your vehicle: flat tire inflater, radiator stop-leak, jumper cables, extra fuses, coolant, oil, pantyhose (for the fan belt), bungee cords (for anything else), and, most importantly, a CAA card. The card, and change for the phone, will get you AAA service wherever you break down-even in Klamath Falls.

If, like a lot of us, you decide to borrow a camper (motorhome, tent-trailer) from your parents (in-laws, homies) to make your Black Rock City experience less… dusty, don’t forget to get something on paper from the owner saying that you have their permission to take this vehicle across the border. Just a letter to that effect, with a phone number where they can be reached around the time you’d be hitting the border. (“Dad, just make sure you’re home around noon, okay? That’s right, Burning Man. I know. I will. Blue. With flippers, yeah. I’ll try, you know, but sometimes it’s hard to find someone with a camera.” ) It’s a little thing, but it works every time. Remember, Americans think we’re unceasingly honest and polite. Work that cultural stereotype!

Don’t say to yourself, “Oh, I’m going to the desert. It’ll be hot. I won’t be needing these winter clothes.” IT’S A LIE! Black Rock is a high-altitude desert and it gets really, really cold there (especially when the wind blows, which is often). This is the one aspect of Burning Man that Canadians do better than their American cousins: we know how to handle cold. Who danced their way through that unexpected 3 a.m. snow flurry in 2000? Canadians. Who have the best looking mukluks on the playa? Canadians. Who already own flame-topped toques? Yup, Canadians. Pack for a saucy night on the slopes, as well as a daring day at the beach, and you’ll be just fine.

Play up your cultural differences on the playa. Flying a Canadian flag is fine, but it’s far more exotic is to pepper your conversation with references to French (even if you’re not fluent, slipping a “Oui” will make you seem oh-so-chic; and don’t forget that old 70s fallback: “Voulez vous couchez avec moi, c’est soir?” ), the metric system (guys, why settle for 8 inches when you can have a whopping 20 centimetres?), and obscure Canadian cultural references (“Larry Harvey? I think Atom Egoyan’s making a movie about him.” or “Hey, did you catch the Gigsville reference in that new Rheostatics cut?” ). And remember, porridge is your friend in the desert: it’s fast, easy to chew (think sore jaws) and the perfect quick meal anytime of the day.

Don’t say “eh.” It’s bad enough that many of us actually use it, but for god’s sake, don’t make it any worse by perpetuating that particular stereotype!

Leave your suspicions at home. Americans are quite nice in their own country, and as long as you’re not doing anything to upset them-or make them shoot-you’ll probably meet a lot of really nice people. If you’re traveling off the interstate, smaller towns are more than happy to have you stop and support their businesses. Just observe the posted speed limit at all times-and remember, it’s in miles, not kilometres (“But officer, I was only doing 100.”)

Don’t let any of this bother you. Hundreds of us travel yearly to Black Rock City from all across Canada with no more problems than you’d expect on any long-distance drive (flat tires, bad music, grumpy passengers). Keep a positive attitude, think happy thoughts, and, before you know it, you’ll be choking on playa dust as you creep into Black Rock City-just like everybody else.

From the South (starting in LA)
by Cap’n Shady

Before you head off to Burning Man, you should sit down with a map and look at where you are going just to familiarize yourself with the different routes that are available. Depending on the time of day you leave Los Angeles, the type of vehicle you are driving and the amount of stuff you’ll need to purchase on the way, there are pros and cons to each route. You should consider all of these options, but make your decision on which route to take right at the moment you get in your vehicle.

In all honesty, you should take out a map and discover your own way to go. If you are driving all the way to Black Rock City from places near Los Angeles, you already have a hell of a drive ahead of you. Burning Man itself is such an incredible experience that you might as well go ahead and make the damn drive interesting. Regardless of the route, you are still looking at over ten hours of driving. Below I’ve outlined three different options for you:

Option One: Astroturf Highway

Interstate 5 North to Sacramento
Interstate 80 East to Reno, Nevada
From Reno, take the 80 east for approximately 30 miles.
Take the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake exit #43 to Hwy 447.
Go north 1 mile to Wadsworth and turn left, staying on Hwy 447 for 75 miles to Empire
Continue 3 miles on Hwy 447 to Gerlach.


This route is primarily reserved for RV enthusiasts, truck drivers and tourists who depend on corporate owned and operated chain restaurants and hotels to get them across the country without incident. This is, by far, the most lackluster approach to Burning Man one could make. Just when you think this ride has sunk as low into the suck-pit as it possibly could, you drive by a gargantuan cattle ranch that, day or night, has such an overwhelming funk to it that you can smell it for miles before and after you drive by it. Interstate 5 just sucks, plain and simple. The only improvement comes when you finally get on I-80 and head into the Sierra Nevada mountains and see some wilderness, great views and, of course, the site of the infamous Donner party.

The biggest advantage of this route is that if you are trying to make decent time in getting to or from Burning Man, you can speed like crazy. Granted, there are cops, but that’s a chance you’ll have to take if you want to speed to Burning Man in the first place, isn’t it? The only legitimate reason for taking this route is if you are leaving Los Angeles close to dusk. Interstate 5 has way more 24-hour resources available to you than any other route and hell, it’s dark, so it’s not like you’ll be doing any sightseeing. The I-5 portion of the route is straight and flat and relatively safe – going through the mountains from Sacramento to Reno is a bit trickier. Be very careful! If you still need to purchase the bulk of your Burning Man supplies, this route is littered with Walmarts and Big K’s and everything else you could want to find all your groceries, camping equipment and ice needs.

If you can, though, prepare in advance and leave in the early morning so that you can avoid this route at all costs. You have set off on a journey to the most avante-garde arts event in the world, why go normal? Get weird from the get-go and go a weird way. Discover that desolation out there before it turns into urban sprawl, already!

Option Two: American Dream

Route 14 North to Suburbia
Route 395 North to Reno, Nevada
From Reno, take the 80 east for approximately 30 miles.
Take the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake exit #43 to Hwy 447.
Go north 1 mile to Wadsworth and turn left, staying on Hwy 447 for 75 miles to Empire
Continue 3 miles on Hwy 447 to Gerlach.


This is a fantastic way to get to Burning Man if you want to go off the main roads, but not too far off. This is a great drive through the Mojave Desert and when you get into the Sierra Nevada mountains it becomes simply incredible, with breathtaking views all around. You are often in places quite rural and remote but there are still plenty of services and supermarkets and restaurants to keep you from going into convulsions or heavy breathing. This route requires a bit more planning: make sure you keep your tank full. This route takes you through the now-destroyed Owens Valley, destroyed because Los Angeles stole all its water.

One of my most favorite places to stop along the way is the Still Life Café, (which has now moved to Independence, CA). You will find an absolutely incredible, gourmet French restaurant that is literally in the middle of nowhere. There is a gas station across the street and a Jerky stand right next to it, but beyond that, you are at the base of great mountains, surrounded by incredibly beautiful desert and about to enjoy one of the best meals you could ever ask for. Many Burning Man people have stopped and eaten here before. Some have had to wait over two hours for their meal during the busy ski season, but my experience after Burning Man last year was just unbelievable. I stopped there for dinner just as the sun was setting behind the mountain. A meal with great food, wine and a beautiful sunset is one of the better ways you can reintroduce yourself to society. Do yourself a favor, though, and call ahead. The Still Life Café has strange hours and there’s not much else nearby it to provide a meal (except the never-ending stream of Beef Jerky stands) if it is closed.

Outside Bishop near Independence, you will find a must-see attraction: the site of the Manzanar Relocation Center, one of the many Japanese-American internment camps (code for concentration camp) that dotted the West during World War II. Once you get out of your vehicle, there is a downright inhospitable spirit that haunts you. Simply put, this place humbles you. During World War II there were, at one time, over 10,000 Japanese Americans interned here. All that is left today is a few buildings and the foundations. After the war, the U.S. government sold all the buildings and hauled off all the lumber, most likely to try to erase the fact that this place ever existed. There are leaflets available for a self-guided tour of the facility. This location represents one of the darkest times in American history and shouldn’t go unnoticed. This is an absolute requirement if you are on the 395 route. You will not leave this place the way you were when you arrived (I do, however, recommend going before Burning Man, not after, for obvious reasons).

Once you get near Mono Lake you’ll pass through Lee Vining and Nicely’s, a fantastic place with great pie (their menu has something for everyone). I specifically recommend this if you are on your way back from Burning Man, because nothing soothes the soul after departing from Black Rock City better than some fetching pie. Mmmm, pie.

In Bridgeport, you can stop at the Bridgeport Reservoir RV Park & Marina for a spell … the proprietor, Jeffrey, will be happy to welcome you. He also offers horse boarding, should the need arise. Also, stop by the Jolly Kone there in Bridgeport … Lynda will help you out with an ice cream to cool down, a burger to fill up, and potties to relieve yourself.

There are also some excellent hot springs in the Mono Lake area, but I’m going to let you discover those for yourself!

Option Three: Spooky Desert

Route 395 North to Bishop
US-6 North to Basalt
NV-360 to Tonopah Junction
US-95 North to Schurz
alt-US-95 North to Silver Springs, and onward to Fernley
under I-80, alt-95 becomes NV-427, which connects to 447 at Wadsworth.


This is for those who like things rural, desolate and relatively unspoiled by man. I have not taken this route personally, so I can’t vouch for any of the information. I can vouch for the person who gave it to me, Nobody of Gigsville, but he can be a shifty fellow, and… This route requires that you stop at any gas station you see just so you never, EVER run out of gas. It doesn’t have much in way of traditional tourist kinda crap, but it does offer the Benton Hot Springs. There are Indian tobacco shops in Schurz, plus some strange-ass Naval submarine research facilities (in the middle of the desert?) on this route.

This route doesn’t really have the steep inclines and declines of the 395 or Interstate 80 through the Sierra Nevada mountains. It would probably be the better route to take if your vehicle can’t take steep inclines. But remember to gas up whenever you can! This is truly remote and there are very few cars on these roads even during peak hours, so engine problems and the like could prove to be quite dangerous.

All in all, there’s amazing and spooky landscape and military facilities to see and lots and lots of empty highway. You can do grocery shopping and the like in Yerington or Fernley, though it’s nowhere near as extensive as Reno. Piper’s Casino in Silver Springs is managed by a Gigsvillian, Camp Skynyrd’s own Cuzzin Joshua. Stop in and have a drink with him and put a few quarters in the slot machine.


These are just a few locations and routes that are available to you. There are many amazing places to explore and check out while on your way from Los Angeles to Black Rock City. I encourage you to find your own way there. It will, at least, give you something to talk about when you get to Black Rock City, or back to Los Angeles.

From Reno (the closest large city)
There are two routes:

Route 1 – From Reno, Nevada, take Hwy I-80 east 28 miles. Take the Wadsworth / Pyramid Lake Exit #43. You can get gas here. Then, go north one mile to Wadsworth and turn left, staying on Hwy 447. It’s 78 miles to Gerlach, and then 8 miles north on State Route 34 to BRC.

Route 2 – From Reno, take Hwy I-80 east 4 miles. Take Pyramid Way Exit #18 to Hwy 445. Turn left and travel north 31 miles. At Pyramid Lake, turn right on Hwy 446 and go east 12 miles to Nixon. You can get gas here. Turn left on Hwy 447, traveling north. 54 miles to Gerlach, and then 8 miles north on State Route 34 to BRC.

Traveler’s Advisory
State highways leading to Gerlach (the closest settlement to Black Rock City) and all other roads in the area are patrolled by the Nevada Highway Patrol. 25 MPH, as posted in nearby towns, means exactly that. Local kids and pets play in the road — be careful! Outside of town, be prepared to share the road with livestock and wildlife. Most vehicle accidents in which participants are injured occur on highways 447 and 34 on the final approach to Black Rock City. It is sadly ironic that people have often made it across the country only to have a serious injury in the last few miles. Please be cautious! Tired? Then stop to rest — especially at night! Be alert for cattle, deer and jackrabbits that will dart into the road in front of you — again, especially at night. Stop and look carefully at all train crossings. Estimating the speed of trains is misleading in the broad desert expanse. Always wait for any oncoming train to pass before crossing railroad tracks. And remember to conduct yourself appropriately (keep your clothes on) in neighboring towns, and LEAVE NO TRACE depositing your trash and recycling only at appropriate locations!

Shuttle Bus Services

Flying into Reno and Black Rock City

Travel safe – and see you on the playa!

Arranging Deliveries

Below are the ONLY ways deliveries can be made on playa:

Option 1: Bring EVERYTHING Yourself!

This means you or your campmates drive your things in and out on your own, without relying on any vendor assistance, even if you’re bringing in large cargo, trailers, etc. We highly encourage camps to share resources with their neighbors. The Burner community is filled with many talented people, and camps may find the help they need by reaching out. 

We’ve seen wonderful examples of neighborliness and communal effort stemming from camps sharing resources like heavy equipment and power. Spark Classifieds is a place to facilitate connections and collaborations among groups or individuals. We encourage camps to post listings for skills and/or resources they need or have to offer. 

Pat yourself on the back for being radically self-reliant!

Option 2: Outside Services Program

Burning Man Project’s Outside Services (OSS) program supports theme camps, art projects, and mutant vehicles by facilitating deliveries from permitted vendors and service providers. 

Camps and art projects that do not have the specialized equipment to safely transport, install, and/or service their infrastructure in Black Rock City can contract with an approved OSS provider to receive support. OSS providers must receive authorization from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Burning Man Project (BMP) to deliver directly to camps or art projects.

All outside deliveries must be arranged through the OSS program. No deliveries, drop-offs, pick-ups, or exchanges happen at the gate. Any commercial deliveries found at the gate will be immediately sent off-site.

NOTE: In 2022, delivered housing was disallowed through the OSS program. We encourage anyone who used this service to use housing they can take into the event themselves.

Allowable Categories of Equipment and Services, aka “ACES”

The last few iterations of BRC saw significant growth in delivered housing through the OSS program which was often used as a backbone for convenience camps. As part of the multi-year Cultural Direction Setting process, we set out to re-align the OSS program to its intended purpose and support the principles of Decommodification and Radical Self-reliance. These three criteria took shape as the best expression of the OSS program’s foundation:

  1. Does this category support health and safety in BRC? 
  2. Is this category helping us towards our sustainability goals?
  3. Is this item or service helping in the spirit of the Communal Effort and Gifting Principles?

Only businesses that fit within the ACES framework are allowed into the OSS program. Potential providers should be able to show how their proposed equipment or service supports at least two of the following ACES criteria: Health and Safety, BMP’s Sustainability Goals, and Communal Effort and Gifting.

How does the OSS program work?

OSS providers can make deliveries to the playa from 6 am until 6 pm each day for the duration of their approved OSS contract. OSS providers must adhere to all applicable federal, state and local laws, as well as operate in accordance with their Burning Man Project contract and with Burning Man’s cultural ethos. 

Your camp or art project must be officially placed by a member of the Placement team or Artery representative, as applicable, before you are permitted to receive any equipment or services from an OSS provider. At least one camp member must be present at the camp or project site. An OSS provider cannot be the first to check in with the Placement team on behalf of a theme camp or any other camp with reserved placement. 

OSS providers delivering potable water must furnish a Nevada State Health Certificate. OSS providers delivering fuel must comply with the fuel delivery requirements. See the Water and Fuel Delivery page for more information about these specific types of deliveries.

Special Recreation Permits

All prospective OSS providers must meet the ACES Criteria above and apply to the Bureau of Land Managerment (BLM) for a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) by the posted deadline. 

Commercial activities in Black Rock City are prohibited unless specifically authorized by both Burning Man Project (BMP) and BLM.

According to the BLM press release, “Vendors will need to submit their application by the close of business, 4:30 PM (PST), on April 7, 2023.”

The SRP application is available on BLM’s website. OSS providers who would like more information can call the BLM Winnemucca District Office before submitting or renewing an application: 775-623-1500.

How to apply for the OSS program

The OSS Application for 2023 will open on March 24th and close on April 7, 2023. Burning Man Project does not accept late applications.

Burning Man Project has a strict evaluation process for any interested businesses to ensure they meet our minimum requirements:

  • Valid business license
  • Current certificate of insurance (meeting Burning Man Project’s minimum requirements)
  • Bonafide business that isn’t limited to the Burning Man event
  • Support decommodified culture
  • Meets ACES criteria

Application process

1) Apply for SRP before the April 7, 2023 deadline
2) Email to register your interest
3) OSS sends online application to potential provider
4) Provider completes applications by both of the deadlines
5) OSS confirms SRP application was filed with BLM

Application must include:
        • Current Certificate of Insurance meeting BMP’s minimum requirements
        • Valid business license

6) OSS approves providers and sends contracts
7) Providers sign contract and are able to start taking bookings for the 2023 event

If you have any questions about the Outside Services program, please email


Camp Layouts

A camp layout is a diagram that serves several key purposes:

  • It will help you design and build your camp
  • It will help the Placement team choose where and how to integrate your camp into a cohesive and harmonious neighborhood
  • It allows safety and logistical guidelines to be reviewed early in the process, reducing the risk of having to make big, last-minute changes on the playa

Please prepare your camp layout prior to starting your Placement Questionnaire and follow the guidelines listed on this page. Camp layouts are submitted as file uploads into the questionnaire. The deadline for the Placement Questionnaire is explicitly stated on the BRC participation forms page. You can find more tips about camp layouts in the Camp Resource Guide.

If you are looking for information on creating a hub layout, please go to the HUBS page. Remember, your camp needs an individual camp layout as well.

Example Layouts
Creating a Layout
File Requirements
Fire and Service Access Lane Requirements
Layout Dos and Don’ts
Fuel and Safety

Example Layouts

Take a look at these mock layouts:

Creating a Layout

  1. Layout must be a single page with portrait orientation.
  2. Camp dimensions must use 50 foot increments. For example, your camp’s dimensions should be 100‘ x 150’ or 200‘ x 250’ and not 110’ x 215’.
  3. Include your camp name, first and last name, playa name (optional), email, phone number, and date with version on your camp layout.
  4. Camp layouts must be an overhead/birds-eye view of your camp.
  5. Include parcel dimensions in feet. Frontage (the parts of your camp that are intended for public interactivity, including signs and other visual attractions) should be outlined, highlighted, or otherwise distinguished from private areas.
  6. Size: Use standard printer paper, 8.5 x 11-inch. Color is welcome, so long as the diagram is completely readable when printed in black and whiteavoid dark, cluttered backgrounds, use large text for major labels such as your camp name and dimensions, and ensure the resolution of your layout is high enough that other text is also readable. (We know they’re cool, but please do not use satellite photos of previous years.)
  7. Call out significant features and each project within your camp area:
    • Where is the camp entrance?
    • Where is the main structure or area for the participant interactions?
    • Where are vehicles parked?
    • Where are generators?
    • Have you complied with the safe fuel storage guidelines for BRC?
    • If you need a fire lane (see requirements below), where is the path of travel for fire and emergency vehicles?
    • If you own a BRC storage container that needs to be delivered and placed, provide the PC# on your plan, indicate the exact placement of the container (with distances in whole feet, no inches, from the short and long side of the container to your camp’s closest borders), and indicate where the container doors should open.
    • If you are storing fuel, mark its location and draw two to three circles around it: one showing there are no combustible materials or sources of ignition (cars, trailers, etc.) within 10’ of the fuel storage area, one showing the 20’ between liquid fuel and propane storage areas, and one showing 50’ from another designated fuel storage area.

Want a template to help create a to-scale of your camp? This Adobe Illustrator file can help you get started or this Figma Community file can help you get started. You are not required to use these templates, and we happily accept other layouts if they include what’s requested above (including hand drawn ones — make sure they’re legible!)

File Requirements

    • Accepted file types: .jpg .jpeg .pjpeg .png
    • We can no longer accept PDF files.
    • Maximum file size is approximately 10 MB. 
    • Be sure the file name for your layout is your unique or abbreviated camp name and include the day and month. (NOT the generic “camp layout” or “layout plan”)
    • Filename must not have spaces, please place underscores (_) between words.
    • Limit file name to 20 characters or less.
    • The file extension (i.e., .jpg) must be include
    • File format example: camp_name_mm.dd.jpg

Fire and Service Access Lane Requirements

  • Camps 100’x100’ or smaller are not required to have a fire lane.
  • Camps are required to have a 20’ wide fire/service access lane only if:
    • They have a depth greater than 125’ from any frontage on a street,
    • OR They are being serviced by an OSS Vendor for water delivery or pumpouts,
    • OR They are part of the BRC Fuel Program and require servicing of a generator/fuel tank that is further than 20’ from the street or are within 20’ but have obstructed access.
  • Service access lanes must not include any sharp turns, trucks must be able to drive straight through to the street, and provide a clear and visible path. The lane should provide direct access to enter and exit your camp from a street that DO NOT require trucks to turn around or back out. This entrance should be unobstructed at all times and not blocked by vehicles or bikes. For more information: BRC Fuel Program.
  • If you have no services and only need a fire lane, the fire lane can dead end in your camp as long as it is unobstructed at all times from entry to termination point and from the termination point a fire hose can reach 125’ to every border of your camp.
    • Signage and caution tape can be used to designate the fire lane. Participants should keep in mind the fire exposure issue with hard-sided structures lined up side-by-side. We recommend that hard-sided structures have at least 5’ between them to mitigate fire hazards.

Layout Dos and Don’ts

Frontage and Parking

Service Access and Frontage

Any turns in a service lane, must include minimum allowances for the trucks. For any 90-degree turn, you must create turn allowances (curves) starting 20’ from the inner corner. Use this diagram showing an extra triangle with 20’ legs to help your planning. Clearly indicate the allowances on your camp layout.




  • Don’t put your generator on your neighbors border.
  • Don’t put private portos and RVs with generators exhausting on your neighbors.
  • Don’t assume you can split your fire/access lane with your neighbor. Only camps with a depth greater than 125’ require a fire lane.
  • Don’t use an aerial photo of last year as this year’s layout submission. It’s hard to read, especially when printed in black & white.
  • Don’t isolate anything that needs to be serviced: RV’s, graywater tanks, etc. need clear access paths the width of a fire lane.
  • Don’t group your liquid fuels and liquefied propane gas storage together. 
  • Don’t place anything that is flammable next to your generator such as trash receptacles or fuel.
  • Don’t build shade over fuel storage areas.
  • Do indicate large immovable objects or any kind of pyro / fire. This includes items that absolutely must be faced a certain direction, or that would prevent camp rotation.
  • Do clearly mark where interactivity will be & what will be private camp space. 
  • Do use feet as the standard unit of measurement. 
  • Do include your fire lane. 
  • Do include your fuel storage, your generator(s), and your fire extinguishers.
  • Do include 20′ zone around flame effects which must be kept free of all combustible or flammable materials, and nothing should overhang this zone.
  • Do place your generator no more than 20’ away from your frontage street or fire/access lane with a straight and unobstructed access for the fuel hose to reach it from the road. 
  • Do protect your neighbors from the sound of your generator that is 20’ from an access road with an RV, container, or build a baffle box for it.
  • Do include which side you consider your frontage; if you are a village, be sure to include the frontages for the camps in your village.
  • Do show where neighbor camps would optimally be placed to facilitate resource sharing.
  • Do, if you are on the Esplanade or 10 & 2, create a diagram of how you are going to utilize the space across the Avenue/Esplanade including how you are planning to power / light up anything you are putting there.
  • Do include sufficient space for bike parking if the camp will be hosting events that will attract crowds; don’t leave it up to your guests to invent a place to park.
  • If you have an activity for ‘mature audiences only,’ DO clearly mark where that will be taking place.
  • Do include your Burning Man PC container with the number indicated. Include dimensions from the borders of the camp to the PC, also include where the door goes.

Fuel Safety Features for Camps

  • All camps must be equipped with fire extinguishers in key locations (e.g., kitchens, near burn bins, fuel storage, and other hazards) located on a post, in full view, close enough but not right next to fire hazards, and indicated on the layout diagram.
  • Fuel containers must be stored in secondary containers (e.g., bins, kiddie pools) large enough to hold 110% of the largest container stored within it. Fuel containers (even little ones) should not be filled more than 80% of capacity to allow for heat expansion.
  • A 20′ zone around the flame effects must be kept free of all combustible or flammable materials, and nothing should overhang this zone (including access lanes). An appropriate audience safety perimeter (and performer’s safety zone if applicable) shall be established well in advance of flame effects operation, and must be approved by FAST. 
  • For camps receiving propane deliveries, the tanks/cylinders must be located within 50 ft. of the road and have clear access and safety perimeters. Delivery is available to registered flame effects on the Esplanade, 2:00, and 10:00 roads for cylinders of 100 lb. or greater capacity, and tanks of 25 gal. or greater capacity. Other locations available for delivery may include the outermost street on the 9:00 side, and some of the Keyholes going into the B Street Plazas.
  • Fuel containers must be stored in secondary containers (e.g., bins, kiddie pools) large enough to hold 110% of the largest container stored within it. Fuel containers (even little ones) should not be filled more than 80% of capacity to allow for heat expansion.
  • All camps storing or using combustible fuels must educate themselves about and comply with appropriate practices for storing and handling these materials. Not only is this essential for safety, but it is also required as part of our event permit stipulations with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Please refer to the FUEL AND HAZMAT STORAGE website for compliance information and a quick reference guide for required fuel storage distances.

Generator Placement

  • Best placement for generators is just off the street so that the fuel trucks don’t have to turn down access lanes to reach it. This can also help you save on space otherwise used for fire access lanes (unless you have fuel storage in camp — see above).
  • Generators located close to the street can still remain hidden behind a structure, such as a container, so long as the fuel truck hose can reach it from the street (20’ length with relatively straight access and no obstructions to the walking path)
  • Generators can also be placed along access roads so they are placed further within the block. Your access road must be 20’ wide and kept clear of obstruction.
    • If your access road dead ends and does not allow the fuel truck to pull all the way through and back out to the street, it will not be used. The fuel trucks will not back up out of your access roads, it’s dangerous.
  • Try to aggregate your generators where possible, the more stops the fuel trucks make the longer the routes (and the less likely to complete the route that day which can impact your delivery the following day). 
    • The BRC Fuel Program will only make two stops per group.
  • Keep in mind that when you have long cable runs, you will start seeing Line Loss (aka voltage drop) at 250’ cable length away from the generator. You will burn more fuel for less power output.
  • While the Fuel team would like to see LESS generators, we know that having one LARGE generator is not necessarily the answer. Consider a smaller generator for the build and strike timeframe if your event generator will be underloaded with a small population, which can cause maintenance issues and cause it to burn fuel inefficiently.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Avoid using ABC extinguishers in kitchens (serious contaminants) – recommend damp towels as 1st use in a kitchen fire.
  • At least one hand-held portable extinguisher with a 40-B rating is required for any fuel storage area. 
  • Laminate a “HOW TO USE” tag on each extinguisher (PASS)

Ambient Musicians

Photo by Kevin LeVezu

The Ambient Musicians are a collection of unaffiliated music makers that help create atmosphere at the foot of the Man on the night of the Burn. Each musician comes with their instrument of choice and a desire to create music. We have mostly been drummers in the past but are not branching out to be more inclusive of other instruments than drums while still keeping drummers deeply involved. We collect musicians into groups, give them a chance to practice with each other and then spread them around the Great Circle with the Fire Conclave on the night of the Burn to fill the air with music. Here are the basics:

  • All drummers who wish to participate must attend one rehearsal/meeting during the week of the event.
  • All drummers must sign in at Fire Conclave Convergence in Center Camp before the meeting.
  • We do not supply drums; you must bring your own drum, shaker, or instrument.

What we need from you:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Location in the world (City, State, Country)
  • A brief introduction
  • Affiliation with any musical group or fire group (optional)

Send the above information to

Once we have this info we will add you to the drummers announce email list. This list is where we will send you info that you need in order to participate.

Ambient Musician, Opening Ceremony 2022 (Photo by Espresso Buzz)


Fire Conclave

Luminist breathes fire, 2022 (Photo by Grant Palmer)

The Fire Conclave is a composition of select fire performance groups from around the world who create choreography dedicated to honoring the Man. Their performances forge a temporary community, as they offer fire art as a gift in service to the Man. Under the night sky, before the release of the Man in pyrotechnic delight, the largest convergence of fire performers and support staff gather at one time where, more fire energy is expressed and let loose than anywhere else in the world. Along with the Fire Conclave there are also the Processional Consortium and Ambient Drummers. Learn about how to join the Fire Conclave and the Fire Conclave history.

Fire Dancers, Great Circle 2022 (Photo by Vimala Faith)

The Processional

The Processional is made up of of Luminists, torchbearers who create a path for the Luminferrous to pass; Lamplighters who convey the Luminferrous to the Man; and a processional band who generates energy for the procession. The Processional transfers the flame from the Cauldron to each fire group in the Fire Conclave, who stand ready to receive the flame.

Crimson Rose leads the procession, Burn Night 2022 (Photo by Vimala Faith)

Ambient Musicians

Drummers, Burn Night 2022 (Photo by Espresso Buzz)

The Ambient Musicians are a collection of musicians, not affiliated with fire performance groups, that help create atmosphere at the foot of the Man on the night of the Burn. Musicians are organized into groups who rehearse together before joining the Fire Conclave groups around the Great Circle to fill the air with music.

Fire Conclave Ceremonies

Burning Man’s ceremonial fire activity encompasses the spirit as well as the body and mind. The gathering of people dancing and drumming around a fire goes back to the beginning of Burning Man and beyond — it is the original, essential form of dance that crystallizes community. By summoning the power of the flame to flow through us, it strengthens and transforms our spirit.

Opening Fire Ceremony & The One Flame

On the first Monday of the event, Crimson Rose extracts a flame from the sun to light  a fire in El Diabla, a special cauldron located in Center Camp. For the flame to continue burning it must be stoked, disturbed and kept alive throughout the entire week. We encourage all those that encounter El Diabla to help keep this flame alive.

El Diabla created by Iron Monkeys, Center Camp, 2019 (Photo by Espresso Buzz)


Procession Of The Ceremonial Flame

Crimson Rose lighting Luminferrous – Photo by Espressobuzz

On Saturday night the fire that has been extracted from the sun, drummed and danced around, and has been burning all week long will be transferred to a special lantern, the Luminferrous. The Procession of the Ceremonial Flame will proceed to the Great Circle where the Sentinels will receive the fire and share it with the largest convergence of fire performers, the Fire Conclave, who will utilize that same fire to start their dances dedicated to the Man before it is released in pyrotechnic delight.

Learn more about  the Fire Conclave here.

Fire Performance

What was once a specialty dance created by a few has spread like wildfire. Fire Dancing has grown and matured into a full-blown performance art form, where the art is as varied as the imagination of those who dance with the flame. Fire Dance has its roots in many cultures and is embraced at Burning Man on a scale that is unmatched anywhere.

Fire Conclave

The Fire Conclave is a composition of select fire groups from around the world who create choreographed fire dances to honor the Man before it burns on Saturday night, creating the largest gathering of fire performance in the world.

For general information on fire performance on the playa, visit Fire Conclave Convergence in Center Camp. Fire Conclave Convergence is staffed Monday through Friday, 10am-6pm. There you will find lingering fire dancers, and a large dry erase board with notices of happenings, where participants can share information about performances and spin jams on playa.

Before heading to the playa you may want to join the Fire Conclave Announce email list.

Basic Fuel Storage Information & Fire Performance

  • Fire Performers at Burning Man must always follow basic safety practices when dealing with fuel. For information on the safe use of specific fuels you should first read the recommendations printed on the original fuel container.
  • Fuel should be kept in the original container or other containers clearly marked as containing fuel. Water bottles or other containers that might lead to the accidental ingestion of fuels should not be used.
  • Keep your fuel out of direct sunlight and away from any open flames, burn barrels and other sources of ignition.
  • When transferring fuel use a secondary containment such as a 5-gallon bucket or other larger container to prevent spills. Do not dump excess or unused fuel on the playa.
  • More information about the storage of fuels at Burning Man can be found here.

Basic Guidelines for Fire Performance

  • Please be aware of your environment and surroundings anytime you are performing with fire.
  • Respect boundaries set by camps and campers.
  • Fire can cause serious injury, disfigurement and property damage. All fire performers must perform sober and act responsibly.
  • Before beginning any fire performance check your equipment for any damage or issues that might cause the device to come apart and potentially cause a flaming element to be thrown into camping areas or at those gathered to watch.
  • Always have proper fire suppression equipment at hand. Fire suppression equipment should include clean wet towels or duvetyn for extinguishing performers and a separate one for extinguishing tools and props.
  • At least one BC rated extinguisher should be on hand for extinguishing fuel fires. Note: do not use dry chemical fire extinguishers on performers as the chemical material will need to be removed from burns and that will hurt!
  • Do not leave flames burning on the playa surface (you may be ticketed by BLM).
  • Do not spin or shake off excess fuel on the playa; use a spin off bucket or zip-lock baggies to catch your excess fuel. That means burning off those fuel trails on the playa surface is a no-no.

Fire Safety

  • There are no formal Fire Conclave Safety Trainings, however you may always stop by Fire Conclave Convergence or check the What, Where, When for information about trainings that may be presented by theme camps or individual fire troupes.
  • All fire performers must have a second person on hand acting as a safety. This person should be able to extinguish tools using a flame retardant material (such as duvetyn) and a second piece of wet clean natural fiber (such as a cotton towel) should your costuming be ignited.
  • The safety person should also be able to deal with any situations you may not be aware of as you perform. You never know when something may go wrong so be sure to always have a sober fire safety. Just because you have your act together doesn’t mean the people around you do.

Nevada State Fire Performance Permitting and Laws

  • Nevada state law does not regulate fire performances at Burning Man. Which means there is no special permitting required, though unsafe behavior will not be allowed at any time. Black Rock Rangers or Emergency Service members may ask those found to be performing in an unsafe manner to stop and correct safety issues.

Center Camp Canopy Performance

Musicians, Magicians, and Marching Bands. Speakers, Singers and Side-Show Acts. Film Makers, Freestylists, and Free Spirits. These are just some of the participants within Black Rock City who fill the Central Plaza with their pulsating, pervasive, and poignant performance power. In addition to the free-form entertainment that abounds, Central Camp Plaza hosts special events, and has two stages for scheduled community performances.

The two stages: Center Stage and the Speak Easy Stage are a fun and high-profile way for participants to share their talents at Burning Man. 

By day on the Center Stage, an eclectic mix of café-style musical offerings such as instrumental, jazz, and world performances encourages community gathering, relaxation, and social interaction. We also host The Speaker Series, comedy shows, and small-scale theatrical productions.

On the Speak Easy Stage, poets, storytellers and open-mic opportunities abound.

In fact, the entirety of the Central Plaza is a majestic space host to performances as unique as the surroundings; because not all performances happen on the stage. We also host large participatory and performance groups, dancers, orchestras, and jugglers in what we call “the Center of the Center”: the Oculus of the plaza.

Are you one of those black-clad gaffer’s-tape-and-flashlight types?

Volunteer as Stage Crew on the Production Team!

The Central Plaza Stages are seeking acts that can contribute to its ambiance with…well…. performances. After a killer jam session Sunday night, our stages re-open Monday and we keep on going until Sunday just before Temple Burn. Yes, that’s right, we are open 24/7 for Event Week. Performers interested in performing on our stages  should arrange for a pre-scheduled performance time during the event. But HOW?

Start by emailing some basic information to our Central Plaza Performance booking volunteers:

  • Your name
  • The name of your Act
  • Featured instruments and musical style
  • Brief sound requirements
  • Links to any online samples or information, excerpt from one of your poems, sketches, or plays, or a description of the type of performance you’re planning.
  • ****Note to Booking Agents – All artists are required to be radically self reliant, which means purchasing their own ticket to the event as well as providing all necessaries to survive the Black Rock City. We do not work with Booking Agents, have your clients contact us directly.

We have a tremendous team of volunteers ready to help get your performance booked. Read more below and email them at:

  1. Musicians, Theatre Troupes, Marching Bands, and Performers of all types:
  2. Formal Talks and Discussions (read more below):
  3. Poets, Storytellers, and Improvers:

If you have any style of event that may contribute to the overall Central Plaza community experience and require any additional assistance or just have questions, email us at:

Share your expertise, research, analysis, and experiences with your fellow playa citizens and be a part of the Central Plaza Speaker Series!

Structure of Our/Your Talks:

  • Talks generally range in length from 10-30 minutes. But longer slots are available.
  • There is a moderated Q&A that follows every talk ranging in time from 5-25 minutes depending on the submission, the time slot, and the audience engagement level. This is where the moderator and the audience can question and engage with the presenter on their assumptions and thesis.
  • All submissions and topics are welcome, as long as general Burning Man ethos and values are upheld. (i.e.: no promotions of products, corporations, political candidates, or rigid partisanship).
  • We are looking for speakers and talks, not workshops.
  • We are looking for fully structured talks that reveal and explore the nature of the topic submitted. Research, whether academic or experiential, is welcomed and appreciated.
  • We are a family friendly venue until dark, and we have no speaker slots after dark this year, though that doesn’t mean that we will not accept talks on ‘racy’ or more ‘adult’ subjects… it’s just something to consider in the framing of your submission and talk.

For more information, contact or complete the Central Plaza Speaker Series Submission Form

Next Page: Performance Guidelines

Burn Scar Prevention

So you have a beautiful piece of art that you wish to burn at Burning Man. How do you practice Leave No Trace (LNT) and protect the playa from heat damage?

The Problem

Ultra Bad Burn Scar (Photo by Moonfire)

Burning anything directly on the surface of the playa will create Burn Scars, which are patches of discolored, hardened playa sediment, caused by the heat and smoke of carelessly constructed bonfires. They are difficult to clean up and take years to recover.

Burn Scars, like the one to the left, are one of the issues that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) watches closely in their role as stewards of public land. Burning Man’s ability to return to the Black Rock Desert year after year is directly dependent upon our ability to Leave No Trace. It is also your responsibility as a citizen of Black Rock City to Leave No Trace during your time here.

The Challenge

You as the artist have two choices in burning your art:

Move It

This choice is the simplest; you can either dismantle your artwork, or carry it in one piece if you have enough people, and place it in one of the Community Burn Gardens. Burn Gardens are located on the open playa side of the Esplanade at the terminus of the 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 streets.

It is best to dismantle your art and place it in the burn cauldrons. The height of the cauldrons will most likely be over your head and ablaze, so exercise due care when loading your artwork.

Note: Do not add any liquid fuel to the Burn Gardens as they are metal cauldrons standing about five feet tall; the flash-over from adding liquid fuel to an unseen fire down inside the cauldron makes it too dangerous to attempt.

You can also burn your art on the ashes of the Man Saturday night after the Man has fallen, and after the crowd dies down. Please make sure your crew is safe and that the piece is placed completely over the DG so none of your work extends onto the unprotected playa and scorches it. If you decide to burn on the Man’s ashes please be careful; there are many hearty participants who like to sift through the ash and rubble to find melted pieces of the Man’s neon. It’s important to make sure your installation does not pose any additional safety risk to participants.

Burn It In Place

Closer look at inadequate burn platform.

Closer look at inadequate burn platform.

If you wish to burn your art directly on the playa, you need to make sure it is six inches off the ground and you have options available to protect the playa from direct and radiant heat to prevent burn scars. With some clever thinking, preparation and intelligent use of materials, this can be made to fit in with the aesthetics of the installation.

As you plan for the burning of your art on the playa and the prevention of burn scars there are some aspects that must be paid attention to in order to prevent worst case scenarios like the inadequate burn platform to the right.

What kind of damage can flaming art do to the playa?

Plenty. The playa hardens and discolors when exposed to fire. This difference in hardness from the surrounding playa when exposed to weathering creates raised areas, allowing dunes to form. Dunes are a hazard for vehicles and affect the landscape in undesired ways.

  • When designing a simple Burn Shield the following aspects must be taken into consideration: overall weight of the art, whether participants will be walking on the artwork, heavy falling portions of the artwork staying on the Burn Shield and not allowing it to penetrate or damage the platform. Sharp edges and tripping hazards are all factors to consider when choosing materials.
  • Debris must be prevented from falling onto the playa surface such as ashes, wood chips, nails etc. that can and will settle into cracks in the playa surface. These materials can be very difficult to clean; even smoke stains can be challenging to remove and are best dealt with by prevention.
  • The Burn Shield should be designed in such a way as to extend beyond the width of the artwork and catch any flaming debris that may fall, as well as catch the artwork should it fall to one side. Additional Burn Shield materials can be added prior to the burning of your art to accommodate this.
  • One of the key aspects of your Burn Scar Prevention plan should always be cleaning up as quickly as possible after the burn, disposing of all materials and debris from the playa before wind and other weather conditions spread ash and other debris. An aspect of the clean-up that is sometimes missed is clean-up of any MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) left from participants who have come to watch the burning of your piece. A sweep of the area for cigarette butts and other trash is a must post-burn. As an artist burning your installation you will be responsible for an area of approximately 50 feet or more past your perimeter. A member of FAST will work with you to identify your complete area of responsibility.

Burn Shield Design and Decomposed Granite

A Burn Shield is defined as something that separates and insulates the playa from heat and smoke of a burn. The key to Burn Scar Prevention is making sure that your Burn Shield is designed to protect the playa. Over the last few years Burning Man has studied the successes and failures of numerous Burn Shield designs. After much trial and error we have identified some systems that have proven effective in preventing both baking and discoloration of the playa surface. There are two different approaches to this that we have found work best.

The Burn Platform

Burn platform, a closer look

Burn platform, a closer look

Burn Platform Designs, like the example to the left, work best for artworks that are smaller and lighter and will not be supporting the weight of participants climbing or walking. The idea with this design is to create a separation of at least six inches or more from the playa to the bottom of the burn shield, and have it designed to support the weight of the artwork. This type of design is usually constructed of flat or corrugated steel sheeting supported by and securely fastened to either steel legs or cinder blocks. A key factor in a successful design of this type is not to have any wood or other materials below or hanging over the steel sheeting as these will be set ablaze from the radiant heat, defeating the shielding effect of the steel. If the Burn Platform material is flimsy there is the potential of everything collapsing onto the playa, defeating the purpose of Burn Shield.

Decomposed Granite (DG)

Installation materials examined

Installation materials examined

Building a Burn Shield that both protects the playa and supports the weight and movement of participants is a greater challenge. Burning Man has discovered that a layer of Decomposed Granite (DG) placed between the surface of the playa and pre-construction of the artwork, like the example to the right, will provide an insulating layer protecting the playa from heat as well as providing the needed support for larger artwork. Care must be taken not to leave any exposed areas and to protect the DG from being scattered by participants.

No matter what kind of protection you think you will use for burning your artwork, The Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) is here to help discuss your Open Fire Burn Shield Designs. Arrangements for the purchase of Decomposed Granite are made through Burning Man and a deposit will be required pre-event to insure its clean-up and removal. Please contact us at with any questions.


  • Corrugated steel needs supports no more than two (2) feet (0.6m) apart to support the weight of walkers or heavy objects.
  • You may not use painted metal. Remove paint from metal before bringing it to the playa.
  • Avoid using aluminum. Even moderately high heat (~1200°F/650°C) will cause aluminum to melt.
  • You can use nails, screws, or other steel fasteners in the construction of your installation. You are required to clean them from the burn site. A magnet rake is one of the greatest cleanup tools and can be purchased cheaply.
  • When preparing to burn your piece remember not to use flammable liquids in such a way that they spill off of the platform and onto the playa surface.
  • Avoid incorporating plastics and synthetics into your art installation. Any such items in your installation will need to be removed before it is burned.
  • Clean up as quickly as possible, before participants pile garbage onto your burn.
  • Steel containers (drums, garbage cans, large buckets) are much safer than plastic for removing ashes and debris. Plastic garbage can liners are not recommended.
  • Please remember to check out with the ARTery after you have completed your cleanup so they may note that you have left your spot clean.
IMPORTANT: If your art incorporates any kind of fire, it is mandatory that you have a burn scar protection plan and that you work with FAST to assist you. We are here to help! If you are creating burning art, you will be required to fill out the Fire Safety section of the participation form and include your burn scar protection plan.

To be prepared to fill out the participation forms, please read all the relevant guidelines under our Fire Art Guidelines page.


Here are email addresses where you may direct questions concerning:

Art installations in general:
Open Fire:
Flame Effects:
Mutant Vehicle Flame Effects:

Safety Perimeters

Implementation of a Successful Burn

Burning Man embraces the use of fire as an art form in ways that no other event ever has, and we take as much pride in our safety record as we do our ability to burn. It is every artist’s responsibility to help Burning Man maintain this safety record, ensuring that we can all use fire in the ways that make our event one-of-a-kind.

Before you consider creating art that utilizes fire, you must take into consideration the following guidelines, compiled by Burning Man’s Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) to assist you with creating and exhibiting fire art safely. While we understand that these guidelines are extensive, it’s critical that you read them completely.

If you have any questions please contact:
General Questions:
Flame Effects:

Step One: Pre-Playa Planning

Read Safety Protocol Documents

Please read the following web pages to become familiar with Burning Man’s policies on creating art and fire art for the event:

Art Installation Guidelines
Burn Scar Prevention
Creating Dangerous Art Safely
Fire Art Guidelines

Step Two: Pre-Playa Planning

Designate a Fire Safety Perimeter Manager

Designate two people from your team to be the Fire Safety Perimeter Managers for your project (the artist themself can be one, if necessary). These two people will be the points of contact for FAST and the BRC Rangers.

The Fire Safety Perimeter Manager roles are similar to being a stage manager, and they should possess the following qualities:

  • Cool head: Ability to stay calm in the middle of chaos
  • Good organizational skills: Ability to coordinate and manage the perimeter crew
  • Communication and people skills: Ability to communicate clearly at all levels, and communicate face-to-face instructions to the perimeter team
  • Understanding the big picture: Ability to set up in advance and manage the chain of command, the timeline for the perimeter set up, performance, and the rendezvous point for perimeter team, ensuring everybody knows exactly where he or she should be, what to expect, what to do, and who is in charge.

Perimeter Specifics

Zones of a Burn

In preparation for a burn, the artist must clearly identify and set up the burn zones. The diagram below is an example of a 70’ radius perimeter. Starting from the inside and working outward, the zones of a burn are:

  • Artwork – The artwork is at the center; this is the area where the burn itself will take place. Just beyond the artwork is the fire zone, where the structure may fall. No participants are allowed in this area.
  • Perimeter dividing line – This is the line that separates the audience from the safety perimeter crew and is just inside which the perimeter crew is stationed.
  • Audience viewing zone – This is the area where the audience is located.



Determining Perimeter Size

The size of your artwork, the materials used for its construction, the type of fuels and fuel load needed and whether you plan on using pyrotechnics are all factors that will go into determining the perimeter needed for your piece. Each project is required to have a half hour phone meeting with FAST pre-event. During that meeting the exact perimeter distance will be determined.

Establishing Safety Corridors

Larger burns require that you plan for placement of fire/emergency lanes and entrances for emergency and fire service vehicles. To identify and divide quadrants, and create safety corridors, Burning Man uses clock face designations. In most cases, the safety corridors are placed at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions (see diagram above). FAST will help you with this planning.

Determine the Number of Safety Perimeter Crew

You will need a minimum of one front-line person on your perimeter crew for every 15 feet (4.5 m) of the perimeter’s circumference. Some simple examples:

  • 50′ (15m) radius circle requires a 21-person perimeter crew
  • 100′ (30m) radius circle requires a 42-person perimeter crew
  • 200′ (60m) radius circle requires a 84-person perimeter crew
  • 300′ (90m) radius circle requires a 126-person perimeter crew

FAST will make the final determination on the number of people required for your safety perimeter crew based on all aspects of your project.

Perimeter Crew Identification

Make sure your perimeter crew can be easily identified and distinguished from participants by the use of day-glo safety vests to be worn over their jackets or other outerwear.

Quadrant Zones & Perimeter Captains

For larger burns, divide the burn circle into four quadrants and number or name each one. Designate one person to take responsibility for each quadrant. Make sure everyone knows the name or number of their quadrant.  This will make the task of locating emergencies or other issues easier for all involved.


Clear communication at all levels is essential. We’ve found that radio communication is great help for all burns and is a requirement for larger burns. In the event of a perimeter collapse, make sure all perimeter staff know not to put themselves between a surging crowd and a fire. All staff should go to the designated rendezvous point so that everyone can be accounted for. We require 3:05 o’clock on your perimeter to be your rendezvous point for perimeter volunteers.

Step Three: On Playa

Establishing a Perimeter

Most perimeters should be set at least two hours before the performance/burn. This timing is dependent on the project’s size, intensity and the complexity of your pre-burn activities. Pyrotechnic performances must have a perimeter established before the pyrotechnic load-in begins and the perimeter must remain in place until after the site has been declared safe. This initial pyrotechnic perimeter (during setup) may be smaller than the perimeter required during the burn itself, depending on the size of the structure, quantity and type of pyrotechnic material being used. A member of FAST who is certified for pyrotechnics will discuss this with you prior to your chosen burn day. A sufficient supply of fire extinguishers should be on hand from the beginning of the perimeter set up and must be visible and accessible at all times.

Create the Initial Perimeter

Form a tight ring of teammates arm-to-arm around the immediate performance area, facing outward. Together as a group, walk at a slow pace, expanding the ring until it reaches the approved perimeter size, to ensure that foreign objects and non-crew participants are not within the perimeter. Be assertive, but polite. You are the host, they are the guests.

Once the perimeter has been set, your perimeter team must be diligent in keeping audience members out. Remember, the perimeter is there for their safety. Sitting is not recommended for the perimeter crew, as it is too difficult to spring into action from this position. Squatting, or crouching with one knee down is better. All members of the perimeter crew should have a flashlight or head-lamp for visibility and safety.  Also, have some food and water available for your crew, and encourage them to bring warmer clothing to wear under their safety vest for a cooler evening.

Additional team members may be needed to stand back from the front line of the perimeter crew to catch anyone who makes it through the perimeter line (this does happen). Before the performance, this second line can stand in for perimeter crew members when they need a bathroom break.

Working with your audience is very effective and good humor is essential. Make friends with the audience; it is crucial that they assist you. Perimeter crews always face the crowd, with their back to the art piece. If you do not set up a perimeter before the audience arrives, it’s really difficult to get them to move back. Also, do not be too concerned if the crowd yells things like “burn it!” The crowd can sound surly, but they are there to see the show and have a good time, just like you and your crew. For large performances, ask the first three or more rows of watchers to sit down. This way everyone can see and the likelihood of a sudden large perimeter break is greatly diminished. The people who arrive earliest for a performance often have cameras and are more than happy to sit; since they would prefer that others don’t trample their set up, they are typically more than willing to help you. Remember that in holding a perimeter, the situation can change quickly. The crew needs to stay focused and flexible throughout the event.

Ignition of the Burn

A member of FAST will arrive at least one hour prior to the scheduled time of your burn to identify themselves to the artists. This time will be confirmed with FAST on playa. Refrain from adding fuel to the artwork before the FAST member arrives. The FAST member will make a final check of your piece, and if all is in order, they will issue the burn laminate for your piece, and inform the Black Rock Rangers and the Emergency Services Department (ESD) that your piece is on schedule to burn. You may then proceed to fuel your piece and complete your preparations to burn.

Just before the burn, a FAST member will check the weather. Barring any high wind conditions or other negative weather factors you will receive an OK to burn from the FAST member.

When to Drop the Perimeter

For simple burns not involving pyrotechnics or large amounts of liquid fuels, the decision about when to drop the perimeter is based on when the highest pieces of the artwork have fallen. The idea is that a hazardous situation exists until any components of the artwork over seven feet tall that may conceivably fall, have actually fallen.

For larger burns, FAST will help you to make this decision. For projects involving pyrotechnics, and not scheduled to burn completely, the pyrotechnics crew must make a sweep of the area for unfired pyrotechnics materials before the perimeter can be dropped at FAST’s direction. FAST will NOT allow a pyrotechnics crew member to enter a burning structure to check that the pyrotechnics have gone off.

Once the perimeter has been dropped, it is important to make sure that any unburned wood or other materials that have fallen outside of the burn shield are thrown back into the burn. It is important that these items do not become a tripping hazard for participants approaching the fire. If there are rebar, ground screws, ground anchors or stakes protruding above the playa surface, cones will be needed to place over them to alert participants. Once the perimeter has been released, an overnight crew will stay with the embers to ensure participant safety and to prepare the area for Leave No Trace (LNT) clean up in the morning. Do not allow participants to throw items that are not to be burned, like plastics or hazardous materials, into the fire.

Contingency Plan

If your burn plan goes like clockwork, great! But on the Black Rock Desert, you must be flexible and patient to have a successful burn.

  • Having a back up plan (or two) is essential. One major factor to take into account is weather; the start of the burn performance may need to be placed on hold or canceled and rescheduled for a different night.
  • Know where the fire extinguishers are. All perimeter crew members must be trained in the use of and aware of the location of the extinguisher closest to them. Have the safety perimeter crew ready to respond at a moment’s notice. They should have eyes on the crowd. In the event of a perimeter collapse, make sure all perimeter staff know not to put themselves between a surging crowd and a fire.
  • Create a rendezvous plan. After the perimeter has dropped, all staff should go to the designated rendezvous point so that everyone can be accounted for. If possible, try to make sure the area outside the crowd is clear. In the event of a collapse, the surging crowd may respond by turning around and running back away from the fire.

The artist should be ready to stand by the art if the weather turns bad. A FAST member will be assigned to each burn and will be able to confirm your ignition timing. The FAST member will be the final word on wind and perimeter before the project can be lit.

Clean Up and LNT

Post-burn, artists are also expected to completely clean the burn site of debris. Completely cleaning the site of your burn is essential for the continuation of our event and it is your responsibility as the artist. Here is more information about burn clean up tools and LNT for fire artists.

ARTery Check-out

Once the burn site has been cleaned, the artist should return to the ARTery to have an authorized ARTery team member return with them to the site of the burn. Only after this last review of your burn site will you be considered checked-out and able to leave the site.

Step Four: Post-Playa

We want to hear from you about your experience with your burn so we can continue to improve our burn processes year over year. Artists will be asked to write a short post-event report describing what worked and what did not.


If you have further questions, please email