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 fire art, 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!

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 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 Center Camp with their pulsating, pervasive, and poignant performance power. In addition to the free-form entertainment that abounds, Center Camp 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 Center Camp 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 Center Camp.

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

Volunteer as Stage Crew on the Production Team!

The Center Camp Stages are seeking acts that can contribute to Center Camp’s 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 Center Camp 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 Center Camp 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 Center Camp 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 Center Camp 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:

Table of Contents: Planning for a Successful Burn

Step One – Pre-Playa Planning

– Read Safety Protocol Documents

Step Two – Pre-Playa Planning

  • Fire Safety Perimeter Manager
  • Perimeter Specifics
    • Zones of a Burn
    • Perimeter Size
    • Safety Corridors
    • Determine the Number of Safety Perimeter Crew
    • Identifying Perimeter Crew
    • Quadrant Zones & Perimeter Captains
  • Communication

Step Three – On Playa

  • Establishing a Perimeter
  • Create the Initial Perimeter
  • Ignition of a Burn
  • When to Drop the Perimeter
  • Contingency Plan
  • Clean Up and LNT
  • ARTery Check-out

Step Four – Post-Playa

  • Submit Burn Report

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
Playa Protection / Burn Scar Prevention
Creating Dangerous Art Safely

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. These two people (the artist him/herself can be one, if necessary) will be the point 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 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 if 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. Normally the Safety Corridors would be placed at the 3:00 & 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 foot (15m) radius circle requires a 21-person perimeter crew
  • 100 foot (30m) radius circle requires a 45-person perimeter crew
  • 200 foot (60m) radius circle requires a 84-person perimeter crew
  • 300 foot (90m) radius circle requires a 123-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 his/her 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 should 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 can be a smaller perimeter 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. Together as a group, proceed at a slow pace outward towards the eventual perimeter 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.

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. 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.

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 your 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 at your burn 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 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 a few hours 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 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 on 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, groundscrews/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 clean up (LNT) 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 cancelled and rescheduled for a different night.
  • Know where the fire extinguishers are. All perimeter crew 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.
  • 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 DG 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

In order to always improve we need to hear from you about your experiences with your burn. Artists will be required to write a short report post event describing what worked and what did not. This report is required before any DG deposits will be returned.


If you have further questions, please email

Fire Guidelines in Camps

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

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

Fireworks Prohibited within the City Grid

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

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

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

Open Fire within Camps

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

Flame Effects and LP-Gas Appliances within Camps

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

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

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

Fire Performance within Camps

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

Guidelines for Flame Effects on Mutant Vehicles

Some of the most spectacular Mutant Vehicles seen on the playa incorporate flame effects into their design, blowing fire into the night sky. As amazing as this is, flame effects on Mutant Vehicles present unique challenges, due to the fact that the vehicles move about the playa and carry passengers. While the use of LP-Gas flame effects is permitted, using liquid fueled effects or open fire that cannot be instantly extinguished is NOT allowed on Mutant Vehicles.

Required Inspections

Note that your vehicle must be registered, approved and licensed by the Department of Mutant Vehicles before a member of the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) will review any flame effects. Failure to pass the DMV inspection will result in your not being licensed to drive your Mutant Vehicle on the playa.

FAST will inspect your vehicle’s flame effects at the Department of Mutant Vehicles on playa to ensure you’ve followed all the requirements for safely constructing and operating the flame effects. Failure to pass this inspection will result in your not being allowed to operate the flame effect on your vehicle.

Construction of Mutant Vehicle Flame Effects

When incorporating flame effects, Mutant Vehicle artists must not only follow the General Flame Effects Guidelines, but also take into consideration the following factors in the design and construction of flame effects for their vehicles:

  • The use of wood fires or liquid-fueled flame effects on Mutant Vehicles is prohibited.
  • Transporting open acetylene cylinders, and use of acetylene in flame effects on mobile art is prohibited.
  • Route your hoses inboard and away from hot exhaust pipes or manifolds. You will be moving and you could run into an unlit object on the playa or another Mutant Vehicle. All fuel lines should be protected from potential damage due to a collision.
  • It is possible that you may have participants on your vehicle. The routing of fuel and electrical lines should also be such that they cannot be damaged by someone grabbing them (say, while traveling over rough terrain) or tripping over them.
  • Fuel and electrical lines should be run in such a way as to prevent rubbing, chafing, impingement or other damage that may result from normal use of vehicle.
  • Fuel tanks must be mounted and secured within the vehicle so they are protected from damage caused by a collision with another vehicle or solid object, and where participants cannot step or stand on them.
  • Fuel tanks should be well ventilated; LP-Gas is heavier than air and in case of a leak will collect in low unventilated areas, resulting in risk of explosion.
  • The 1/4-turn main LP-Gas shut-off valve must be placed within easy reach of both the driver and the flame effects operator.
  • Flame should be well above the heads of participants: at least 10 feet (3m) above where any participant could stand, whether on the ground, or on your vehicle.
  • Flame discharges should be vertical whenever possible; no flame shall be angled closer than 45° to the horizontal.

Maximum LP-Gas Quantity for Mutant Vehicles

In order to ensure the safety of participants and Emergency Services personnel, Burning Man imposes limits on the quantity of LP-Gas that may be carried on Mutant Vehicles. These limits are consistent with regulations imposed by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT), as well as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines.

  • The total Aggregate Gross Weight (weight of containers plus fuel when all containers are filled to their maximum permitted filling levels) shall not exceed 1000 lb.
  • The maximum number of containers shall not exceed ten (10).
  • The maximum size DOT cylinder shall be 1000 lb. water capacity (WC).
  • The maximum size ASME portable container shall be 200 gallon water capacity (WC).
  • ASME containers shall be designed for portable use, and shall have integral appurtenance protection.
  • Containers shall be installed on the vehicle to allow adequate ventilation and access to their appurtenances for easy closure in an emergency situation.
  • The containers shall be transported on the vehicle upright with the relief valve in communication with the vapor space preventing the venting of liquid LP-Gas.
  • Containers shall be secured to prevent movement during transportation.

The formula to obtain the aggregate gross weight of a cylinder is:

AGW = (WC × 0.42) + TW


  • AGW = Aggregate Gross Weight
  • WC = Water Capacity (marked on cylinder)
  • TW = Tare Weight (the weight of the container when empty; marked on cylinder)

Below is a table of approximate Aggregate Gross Weights for several common LP-Gas cylinder sizes:

Cylinder Size

Aggregate Gross Weight









33.5# (forklift)




43.5# (forklift)






Note that Aggregate Gross Weight is only one consideration in sizing your fuel supply. Regardless of the size(s) of the cylinders you choose, you are limited to a total of ten (10) cylinders maximum.

(If the maximum allowed quantity were to be determined by AGW only, a Mutant Vehicle could hypothetically transport 66 × 5# cylinders and be in compliance with the maximum weight rule. But 66 cylinders on a Mutant Vehicle is a lot of valves to close, a lot of connections that could leak, and a lot of relief valves that could vent. Therefore, Burning Man limits the total number of LP-Gas cylinders on any Mutant Vehicle to ten.)

Below are some examples of LP-Gas cylinder combinations that meet the requirements:

  • Ten 20# cylinders (380 lb.)
  • Ten 30# cylinders (550 lb.)
  • Ten 40# cylinders (720 lb.)
  • Five 100# cylinders (855 lb.)
  • Five 100# cylinders and three 20# cylinders (969 lb.)


Here are email addresses where you may direct questions concerning:

Flame Effects on Mutant Vehicles:
Mutant Vehicles in general:

Pyrotechnics Guidelines

There are good reasons why Burners say “Happy New Year!” when the Man burns. Yes, your year comes to revolve around Burning Man after a couple trips out to the desert. But the more obvious reason is that the thing blows up like New Year’s Eve to the power of the Fourth of July. For that, we can thank world-class pyrotechnics experts, and you don’t live to be one of those unless you practice the craft of exploding things very carefully, using the following guidelines.

Pyrotechnics Definition

Pyrotechnics refers to the art, craft and science of fireworks, which includes any explosives or projectiles. All pyrotechnic special effects material used in any artwork or performance must consist of consumer fireworks [1.4G Class C, UN0336] or less.

Absolutely NO HOMEMADE FIREWORKS, nor DISPLAY (PROFESSIONAL) FIREWORKS [1.3G CLASS B, UN0335] or higher, will be permitted in any artwork or performance.

Safety Guidelines for Pyrotechnics

Allowed Uses of Pyrotechnics

Pyrotechnics may only be used at Burning Man in art installations and performances on the open playa that have been registered with the Art Department and approved by FAST.


Consumer Grade Fireworks Only

Fireworks used in these projects are limited to Consumer Grade [1.4G Class C, UN0336] Fireworks. This includes fountains (also known as gerbs), sparklers, night displays or cakes.

For reasons of safety and event stipulations we do not allow the use of Display Grade [1.3G Class B, UN0335] Fireworks.

No pyrotechnics made by anyone other than a licensed manufacturer of consumer grade pyrotechnics will be permitted on site. This is due to the unknown reliability and consistency of the product, which could prove harmful to participants.

Fireworks Debris

Burning Man encourages artists to consider using fireworks that create the least amount of debris. For instance, firecrackers create a lot of debris, but magic whip (sometimes referred to as firecracker rope) creates very little debris. Multi-shot devices or cakes are filled with small cardboard discs that are projected and spread for great distances. When choosing product for display, choose devices with the least amount of wrapping, inserts, foils and other potential debris. Post-display, the entire fallout area must be promptly swept for debris before it is trampled into the Playa surface or is blown away by the wind.

Storage of Pyrotechnic Material

All pyrotechnic material must be securely stored in accordance with the NFPA 1124 code for storage of fireworks and pyrotechnic materials.

Pyrotechnic materials shall be secured in portable, fire-resistant, theft-resistant, weather-resistant magazines (or “day boxes”) that comply with the following provisions:

  • Magazines shall be used exclusively for the storage of pyrotechnic materials.
  • Each magazine shall be equipped with a padlock.
  • Magazines constructed of metal shall meet the following requirements:

    • They shall be constructed of 12 gauge sheet metal.
    • They shall be lined with a non-sparking material.
    • The edges of metal covers shall overlap the sides by at least 1 in. (25 mm).
  • Magazines constructed of wood shall meet the following requirements:

    • They shall have sides, bottoms and covers or doors of 4 in. (102 mm) hardwood that are braced at the corners.
    • They shall be covered with sheet metal of not less than 26 gauge.
    • Nails exposed to the interior of the magazine shall be countersunk.
  • No smoking, open flame, spark-producing equipment or storage of combustible materials within 50 feet (15m) of any magazine.
  • Proper signage of “NO SMOKING – FLAMMABLE” shall be visible from all four directions.
  • At least one handheld portable extinguisher with a 40-B rating is required for any pyrotechnics storage area. Extinguishers rated as ABC, AB, or BC will have a separate value for the B rating, which indicates the square footage of a class-B fire that a non-expert user should be able to extinguish with it.
  • Label magazines with your name, the name of your project, and the types and quantities of material they contain.

Preparation and Assembly of Pyrotechnic Devices

Wherever magazines are open or pyrotechnics are being prepared, assembled or placed, a surrounding 100′ (30m) zone free of free of open flame, spark-producing equipment, smoking or storage of combustible materials must be enforced

Pyrotechnic Operators and Assistants

  • Pyrotechnic special effects operators must be 21 years of age or older. Technical assistants only need to be 18 years old.
  • Only people familiar with the safety considerations and hazards involved are permitted to handle pyrotechnic materials.
  • All personnel involved in setting up or firing the show are required to wear fire resistant clothing and personal head, eye and hearing protection.
  • All personnel involved in setting up or firing the show must be trained in the use of fire extinguishers.
  • No carelessness, negligence, or unsafe conditions with pyrotechnics shall be tolerated.
  • Do not drink alcohol, take drugs, or smoke when working with pyrotechnics.

Safety Perimeters

An appropriate safety perimeter is required for both set-up and firing of a pyrotechnics show. A member of FAST will advise on the correct perimeter size.

You will need a minimum of one front-line person on your perimeter crew for every 25 feet (7.5m) of the perimeter’s circumference.

Plan to establish the perimeter early enough to allow plenty of time for preparation of the burn, bearing in mind that things rarely go according to plan on the playa.

Make sure that members of your perimeter crew can be easily identified and distinguished from other participants by providing day-glo safety vests for them to wear over their jackets or other outerwear.

The artist and Fire Safety Liaison agree that the safety perimeter shall be of such size that no pyrotechnics, flame, spark or fallout will cross or land outside the perimeter, nor enter, go over, under, on, or around the audience.

Please be sure to read the detailed information about setting up and managing a perimeter in the the Safety Perimeters section of the Open Fire Guidelines page.

Fire Extinguishers

Artist and Fire Safety Liaison agree to have an adequate number of the right types of fire extinguishers on hand during show set-up to extinguish accidental fires.

Material Safety Data Sheets

MSDS for all products used in the pyrotechnic display must be available at the installation when the show is being set up, to guide clean-up activities in case of a material spill, and to provide to emergency medical personnel in case of accidental exposure.

Shooting the Show

Artist agrees that the pyrotechnics display will not start until all performers, safety monitors, and participants are in place, ready and the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) has granted approval in the form of a signed Pyrotechnics laminate.

Safety sweeps are required:

  • Before the show starts to identify hazards that may have developed since the pyrotechnics were placed;
  • After firing but before perimeter release to identify and mitigate undetonated pyrotechnics or other hazards.


Here are email addresses where you may direct questions concerning:

Art installations in general:
Open Fire:
Flame Effects:

Registration and Approval

Read all about how to register your project and get it approved.

Flame Effects Guidelines

The primal simplicity of an open fire is great and all, but newfangled technology enables all sorts of spinning, swirling, squealing, pink-and-green fire magic, and Burning Man artists make full use of it. The thing is, flame effects involve lots of moving parts and high-pressure flammable fuels, so follow these guidelines to make sure you’re doing it right.

Flame Effect Definition

Flame Effect is defined as “The combustion of solids, liquids, or gases to produce thermal, physical, visual, or audible phenomena before an audience.” This includes all flames that are automated, switched, pressurized or having any other action than simply being lit on fire; as well as projects using propane or other liquid or gaseous fuels.

Safety Guidelines for Flame Effects

The majority of flame effects at Burning Man are Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP-Gas) effects; LP-Gas is often commonly referred to as propane. Most of the guidelines below deal with LP-Gas as a fuel. Regardless of fuel type or technological basis, all Flame Effects must be constructed in such a way as to meet or exceed applicable laws, codes and industry standards.

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) publishes numerous codes and standards for the construction and use of LP-Gas systems, including:

  • NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code
  • NFPA 58 – Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
  • NFPA 160 – Standard for the Use of Flame Effects Before an Audience

NFPA documents are available for viewing and purchase on the NFPA website and should be reviewed by all Flame Effects artists.

Construction of Flame Effects

  • All LP-Gas cylinders shall be designed, fabricated, tested, and marked in accordance with the regulations of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) or the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.
  • All LP-Gas cylinders must have an unexpired certification date stamp and be in good working order. Tanks in poor condition or out of date are a danger to fill and may cause injury to the fuel team, the artists, and/or participants.
  • Each LP-Gas flame effect must have a single 1/4-turn shut-off valve as the primary emergency fuel shut-off. When closed, this valve must inhibit all fuel flow to the flame effect, regardless of how many LP-Gas cylinders are connected to the flame effect. This valve must be exposed and visible at all times, and must be clearly marked as the emergency fuel shut-off.
  • All components of the fuel system (fittings, piping, valves, connectors, etc.) must be designed and rated for both the type and pressure of fuel being used. The use of improper fittings can lead to leaks and failures in the fuel system resulting in fires and or injury.
  • All LP-Gas metallic piping and fittings that will operate at a pressure greater than 125 psi shall be schedule 80 or heavier.
  • All LP-Gas Hoses that will be operated in excess of 5 psi shall be designed for a working pressure of at least 350 psi and shall be continuously marked by the manufacturer to indicate its maximum operating pressure and compatibility with LP-Gas.
  • Air or pneumatic line is not acceptable as fuel hose. LP-Gas degrades rubber hose not specifically designed for use with that fuel. This results in the hose cracking from the inside out, potentially leading to a catastrophic failure.
  • Hose clamps are prohibited on LP-Gas hose at any pressure. All fuel hose connections shall be factory made, or constructed with a crimped fitting specifically designed for that purpose. Hose clamps are well known for cutting and chafing fuel lines or coming loose, possibly leading to catastrophic failure.
  • All metallic tubing joints shall use flare fittings. The use of compression fittings or lead soldered fittings are prohibited.
  • Accumulators, surge tanks and other pressure vessels in the system shall be designed, manufactured, and tested in accordance with the ASME Boiler Pressure Vessel Code or the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the pressure of the gas in use.
  • Any welding alteration of pressure vessels, or alteration or fabrication of other system components that hold pressure, must be performed by an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certified welder, and must be stamped and certified as such.
  • If the fuel supply pressure exceeds the maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of an accumulator or other pressure vessel, a regulator shall be installed between the fuel supply and the pressure vessel to reduce the pressure below the pressure vessel’s MAOP. A pressure relief valve shall also be installed in the pressure vessel, with a start-to-leak setting at or below the MAOP and a rate of discharge that exceeds the maximum flow rate of the supply container.
  • Fuel tanks for stationary flame effects must be protected from vehicle traffic and be well illuminated at night.
  • flame effects should be constructed and sited in such a way that the flame head and/or hot components are at least six inches from the playa surface, to prevent baking or scarring of the Playa.
  • Any artwork, towers or other structures that incorporate flame effects should be secured from the wind and encircled with an appropriate safety perimeter to prevent injury to participants.

Operation of Flame Effects

Flame Effect Operators

Flame effects operators and assistants must be 21 years of age or older and be trained in the use of fire extinguishers.

Operators and assistants must wear fire resistant clothing while operating flame effects.

Personal Responsibility

No carelessness, negligence, or unsafe conditions with flame effects shall be tolerated. Do not drink, take drugs, or smoke when working with flame effects.

Safety Perimeter

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. Because of the variety of artwork that incorporates flame effects, a member of FAST will help you determine the correct perimeter distance.

In any case, a 20′ zone around the flame effects must be kept free of all combustible or flammable materials, and nothing should overhang this zone.


Only people familiar with the safety considerations and hazards involved are permitted to connect/disconnect LP-Gas tanks, or to do liquid fuel filling. Wearing personal safety gear (glasses, gloves, etc.) during liquid fuel filling is required.

Daily Safety Check

A daily safety check of all flame effect components and connections is mandatory before operation begins. Never start operation of a flame effect until the daily safety check is completed. If a safety hazard is identified either during the safety check or during operation, the Fire Safety Liaison must delay or halt operation until the hazard is corrected.

Operating Guidelines

Never light a flame effect until all performers, safety monitors and participants are in place and ready.

Never operate a flame effect in such a way that it poses a danger to people or property.

Attending to Flame Effects

flame effects must never be left unattended. The winds in the desert are highly variable, and may create havoc in a poorly monitored installation. Any flame effect found running unattended will be shut down. Egregious and/or repeat offenses will result in the confiscation and/or disabling of the effect.

No Smoking or Open Flame

ABSOLUTELY no smoking or open flame within 10 feet any storage area where flammable liquids or fuel gases are stored. All fuel and flammables must be stored in approved containers which must remain closed except when filling or dispensing, or when connected to a system for use.

Material Safety Data Sheets

MSDS for any hazardous chemicals used in the construction or operation of the flame effect must be kept at the installation, so they are available to guide clean-up activities in case of a material spill, and to provide to emergency medical personnel in case of accidental exposure.


Here are email addresses where you may direct questions concerning:

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

Registration and Approval

Read all about how to register your project and get it approved.

Open Fire Guidelines

Open fire projects can be as large as the Temple, or as small and intimate as a fiery urn on open playa. Fire can be a great way to bring folks together on a chilly playa night, or to send your artwork to the spirits in a final fiery conflagration. Whatever the size, all fire platforms and containers need to be six inches off the ground. 

Open Fire Definitions

Open Fire (OF) is defined as simple burning of solid or unpressurized liquid fuels, without any enhancement by mechanical devices, extra oxidizers or pyrotechnic materials.

Burning Man defines three different types or levels of open fire, each with different characteristics, and each requiring different approval processes and safety procedures:

Open Fire Level One (OF-1): Structure on Decomposed Granite on Playa

For the burning of a structure on decomposed granite (DG) on playa. Examples include:

  • A large sculpture burn in close proximity to the playa surface 
  • A large artwork fully engulfed in flames producing a tremendous amount of heat
  • The Man
  • Embrace, Catacomb of Veils

Requirements for OF-1:

  • Close communications with FAST
  • A Burn Laminate
  • A Burn Shield (to prevent burn scars on the playa surface)
  • Safety Perimeter
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Ranger and/or ESD Support (artwork dependent)

Open Fire Level Two (OF-2): Enclosed Container Fire 

For fire in an enclosed container. OF-2 refers to the simple burning of unpressurized fuel within fireproof containment. Examples include: 

  • Burn barrels
  • Braziers or other raised containers
  • Oil lamps
  • Torches
  • Candles
  • Other simple uses of fire

Requirements for OF-2:

  • Safety perimeter 
  • Fire Extinguishers 
  • Fire must be within appropriate fireproof container and away from playa surface
  • Precautions must be taken to ensure that anything that should not be set on fire (fabric, stage sets, etc.) is kept away from flame

As long as all fire, fuel, embers, etc. are kept contained and away from the playa surface, neither a Burn Shield nor a Burn Laminate are required for this level.

Open Fire Level Three (OF-3): Relocatable Art to Burn 

OF-3 is for Relocatable Art to Burn. It is artwork created/staged in one location that is moved for burning at an approved Burn Shield platform such as The Man platform after the Man has fallen or one of the public Burn Gardens located at 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 along the Esplanade. 

Requirements for OF-3:

ONLY wood, NO other burnable materials (toxic/synthetics are prohibited by law)

  • NO liquid fuel
  • No personal vehicles may be used for transportation to the Man base
  • At the Man base, please talk to a Ranger first! Provide: plan, safety perimeter
  • Practice good safety! Be aware of your situation (Burn Gardens are tall)
  • Everything must be either in the Burn Garden container or over DG. NOT ON THE PLAYA

Safety Guidelines for Open Fire Level One (OF1)

Burn Shield

A Burn Shield separates and insulates the playa from burn scarring (baking and discoloration) caused by the intense heat of an open fire burn.

An artist proposing an Open Fire Level One (OF1) artwork must include a Burn Shield plan. FAST must approve your Burn Shield plan before you bring your project to the event, and must inspect and approve your Burn Shield in place, as constructed, before you may assemble your artwork on it.

If the on playa Burn Shield is NOT approved, the artist understands and agrees that the artwork will not be burned on the rejected Burn Shield platform. Violation of this agreement by ignoring the guidelines and burning the artwork, or anything on the open Playa without prior approval will be cause for a $1,000 fine (that the artist will be responsible for paying) from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Using decomposed granite (DG) as a Burn Shield:

The simplest and most effective  Burn Shield is a layer of decomposed granite (DG) placed on the surface of the playa prior to construction of the artwork. The thickness and extent of a DG Burn Shield depends on the size and weight of your artwork. When spreading a DG layer, care must be taken not to leave any exposed areas, and to prevent the DG from being displaced by participants. Arrangements for the purchase of DG are made through Burning Man after the pre-event burn meeting between your project team and the FAST Artist Liaison. In addition to the purchase price, a pre-event deposit will be required to insure that the DG you use is thoroughly cleaned by your LNT team prior to removal the morning after your burn.

Using a different type of Burn Shield (other than decomposed granite):

You may propose a different Burn Shield design, but if you choose to do so, you must submit a dimensioned drawing of your proposed platform, showing enough detail to convince FAST that it will in fact provide adequate burn scar protection, and that it will be large enough to capture all pieces of the artwork as they fall. 

You can read much more about Burn Shields on our Burn Scar Prevention page.

Artwork Materials and Construction

Materials NOT To Burn

Toxic Materials:

Avoid incorporating plastics and synthetics into your artwork. The burning of any toxic materials in your artwork is prohibited by law. 

Materials NOT to be burned due to toxic materials:

  • Furniture
  • Paint
  • Rugs
  • Many other objects typically used to decorate artworks. Talk to your FAST Artist Liaison if you have any questions about what is acceptable.

All such items MUST be removed from your artwork before it is burned.

Materials That Create Airborne Embers:

Over the years we have found a short list of materials that, when burned, create excessive embers and floating burning materials. These loose sources of unintended ignition can cause issues for Mutant Vehicles at the burn perimeter, nearby art projects, and participants at the burn. Discuss all materials with the FAST OF Manager pre-event.

Materials NOT to be burned due to embers include:

  • Fabric
  • Paint
  • Cardboard
  • Large sections of papier-mâché
  • Thin wood laminates or pressboard
  • Plywood less than 5/8th inches thick
  • OSB, chipboard, and particle-board

Engineered and Glue Laminated Structural Elements:

While Engineered and Glue Laminated Structural wood has excellent strength and may be useful in larger structures, it is also designed to be fire-resistant. Through experience, we have found that these type of beams can often end up mostly unburned and can remain upright long after the rest of the materials have burned. The result can be the need to hold the perimeter for the time that it takes for the remaining unburned sections to be made safe.

Materials That Require Removal After Burning

Nails, Screws and Other Fasteners:

You can use nails, screws, or other steel fasteners in the construction of your artwork. 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 along with a metal bucket to hold the hot metal.

Safety Perimeter

Your burn’s safety perimeter keeps participants from straying into areas where they could be injured or interfere with the work of your crew. Designing and managing a burn’s perimeter is one of the most complex aspects of the entire burn, with many factors to consider. Read more about Managing a Burn Perimeter here.

Scheduled Burn Time

Although your burn day and time will be decided pre-event during your burn meeting, please confirm that day and time with FAST after checking in at the ARTery. While FAST will try to accommodate your preferred burn time, it can not be guaranteed, and it may be changed due to weather, emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Your FAST Artist Liaison is responsible for maintaining daily contact with FAST to stay apprised of any schedule adjustments or other advisories. Relevant information will be passed along to the artist.

FAST Lead Coordination Before Burning

At least one hour before your scheduled burn time (or earlier, depending on the complexity of your burn) a member of FAST designated as the FAST Lead (the person supervising your burn) will arrive at your installation at the 9 o’clock position of your burn to identify themselves to the artists to coordinate with the project team (artist and all leads).

Your perimeter must be set and solid before FAST arrives or it could result in a delay or cancellation of your burn! 

Do NOT add 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. When you are given the green light, you will be informed to fuel your piece and complete your preparations to burn. A FAST member will also check the weather. Barring any high wind conditions or other negative weather factors, you will receive an OK to burn from the FAST member.

You can and should be making other preparations prior to that time, however, and continue making them after the FAST Lead arrives.

The FAST Lead is a knowledgeable resource who can help you troubleshoot last-minute problems with your preparations. If in doubt about anything, don’t guess: make use of the FAST Lead’s expertise!

The FAST Lead has final say over when you are allowed to:

  • Apply accelerants
  • Start your performance and/or pyrotechnics show, if any
  • Ignite the artwork
  • Release the safety perimeter

Establishing the Perimeter

See Managing the Perimeter. As noted there, plan to establish a smaller perimeter several hours ahead of burn time to allow for preparation of the structure, loading of pyrotechnics, etc. Create a perimeter before prepping for the burn. At that point, participants are no longer allowed on the site for safety.

Preparing the Structure

Once the perimeter is set and there is no danger of participants entering the work area, the preparations can begin, including:

  • Clearing structure contents
  • Cordwood loading
  • Structural hobbling
  • Pyro loading

All pyrotechnic material must be listed and approved pre-event. An inspection of its placement will be required on-site at the discretion of FAST. Any questions please contact Pyrotechnics at

Final Checks and Approval

When all the above preparations are complete, the FAST Lead, Burn Lead, and pyrotechnic operator (if needed) will make a final check of the artwork, looking for any stowaways or stragglers, and checking for any hazardous conditions that may have developed while preparations were underway.

If liquid accelerants are needed, a fueling team applies them at this time after given the clear by the FAST Lead on site, using methods documented in the Burn Scenario and approved by FAST at the pre-event meeting. A fire safety team member with fully-charged fire extinguishers in hand — and trained in their use — must accompany and cover fuel team members while they are applying accelerants.

After this final check and fueling of the structure, the “No-Man’s Land” zone of the burn circle is closed to further entry until the artwork is ignited and the structure has fallen.

Just before ignition, the FAST Lead checks the weather. Barring any high wind conditions or other negative weather factors, you will receive an OK to burn from the FAST Lead. The FAST Lead issues the necessary Burn Laminate(s) for your burn, and informs the Black Rock Rangers and the Emergency Services Department that the artwork is on schedule to burn.


At this time the final sequence of the burn, including performance, pyrotechnics, and any ignition ritual, can begin.

All of these elements of the burn must be conducted in a way that prevents premature ignition, to ensure the safety of the fuel team while they are in or near the fueled structure.

Important Note: No one on the fuel team should be tasked with the actual ignition of the structure, as there is a chance they will have fuel on their clothing.

Hazard Mitigation

FAST will make the decision to drop the perimeter when all conditions are determined safe. For all burns the decision on when to drop the perimeter is based on a variety of determinants such as when the highest pieces of the artwork have fallen. The idea is that a hazardous situation exists until all components of the artwork over seven feet tall that may conceivably fall, have actually fallen and no pieces of art are off the DG. 

Any unburned materials that have fallen beyond the Burn Shield must be thrown or pushed back into the fire. These items must not become tripping hazards for participants approaching the fire once the perimeter is dropped.

If any rebar, ground screws/ground anchors or stakes are protruding above the playa surface that cannot be removed before the perimeter comes down, cones must be placed over them to alert participants.

Following structure collapse, for projects involving pyrotechnics FAST will NOT allow anyone to go INTO a structure, but if they are in appropriate safety gear (i.e. firefighter turnout gear) they will be permitted to do a sweep around the perimeter of the structure for any large fuel mortars, or unspent pyrotechnics. They should be accompanied by an also well geared up member of the FAST team (preferably from the Pyro team). Fuel mortars should be tipped toward the burning structure, and pyro should be either removed if it is safe to do so, or placed into the fire. All materials must be neutralized before the perimeter is dropped.

ONLY then should the perimeter be released.

Releasing the Perimeter

The perimeter can be released after:

  1. All hazard mitigations listed above have been completed to the satisfaction of the FAST Lead, and
  2. No part of the artwork stands more than 7 feet higher than the playa. 
  3. Once FAST gives the ok then Rangers, BPSG and/or a combination of these will work with the Perimeter Leads to release the perimeter at the same time for safety.

Burn Aftermath

After the perimeter has been released, all members of the burn crew must be accounted for at the rally point at 9 o’clock. Perimeter Volunteers are to check out at the rally point at the 3:05 o’clock where they checked in. Any crew member on either team who fails to report to their rally point for check-out should be considered “missing in action,” and possibly injured or incapacitated, until they are located.

An overnight crew must stay with the embers to ensure participant safety and to shovel and rake the embers to prepare the area for clean up (LNT) in the morning. Do not allow participants to throw items that are not to be burned, like plastics or hazardous materials, into the fire.

Leave No Trace

The Artist, Leave No Trace Lead, and crew are responsible for all clean up at the installation site, both nightly and when the event ends. The area must be as clean as when you found it, and all MOOP you remove must be packed out of Black Rock City. This is what it means to LEAVE NO TRACE.

Think about playa clean-up while you are creating your artwork, both in terms of the usual trash that accumulates and extraordinary situations such as fuel spills. How will you prevent these things from happening, and how will you respond if they do?

You must have available at the installation all necessary clean-up tools and materials for both kinds of eventuality, such as shovels, rakes (including “magnetic rakes”), garbage cans (metal ones if you will be dealing with hot ashes), and sealable containers for storage and removal of spill-contaminated playa dirt.


Here are email addresses where you may direct questions concerning:

Art installations in general:
Open Fire:
Flame Effects:

Registration and Approval

Read all about how to register your project and get it approved.

Leave No Trace for Fire Artists

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

New Standard: Introducing the LNT Grid

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

MOOP Public Enemy Number 1: WOOD CHIPS!

Also known as splinters, bark, sawdust, and wood debris. This is the biggest and fastest growing MOOP problem on the Black Rock Desert.

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

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

Pre-Burn Arrangements

To protect the playa from scarring from large-scale open fire burns, we offer the opportunity to arrange for the purchase of decomposed granite (DG) as a burn platform. Arrangements for this will be made after your Burn Meeting conference call with the Artist Liaison from the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST). The DG will be dropped at the center location of your fire art project.

All burn platforms must be six inches off the ground. 

NOTE: No decomposed Granite (DG) can be provided without prior pre-event arrangement.

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


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

Deposit Return

A return of your project’s clean up deposit will be considered after a post-event LNT Report is submitted to the Art Department and the Playa Restoration Team.

Line Sweep Tips

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

Orange traffic cones also work well visually defining a Red Area AKA “Hotspot” to come back to focus on.

Creating Dangerous Art Safely

“Basura Sagrada” Temple burn by Shrine, Tucker and the Basura Sagrada Collaboratory, 2008 (Photo by Thomas Fang)

Fire is the heart of the Burning Man event, and we encourage and support all types of safe fire art and pyrotechnic displays. The following information and guidelines are designed to promote the safe use of open fire, flame effects and pyrotechnics in your artwork, performance, theme camp or Mutant Vehicle. Please read this page in its entirety, as well as the other pages in this section that apply to your work. Thank you for burning safely!

Fire Art Safety Team (FAST)

Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) is a team of artists, fire safety personnel and industry professionals whose mission is to provide experienced support for fire artists and to ensure the safe use of fire at the Burning Man event. FAST assists artists in the safe execution of open fire, flame effects, and/or pyrotechnics in installations, theme camps and Mutant Vehicles. FAST inspects artworks incorporating fire and issues the appropriate Burn License(s) once the artwork has been approved.

There are two kinds of FAST personnel: 1) FAST Artist Liaisons work with artists and fire safety liaisons during the pre-event evaluation process, and 2) FAST Leads oversee any burns and/or pyrotechnic shows at the event. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience in planning your artwork.

Fire Art and Event Stipulations

Burning Man’s agreements with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are in the form of event stipulations, which state that for public safety reasons, artworks using open fire, flame effects and/or pyrotechnics require safety inspection and approval in the form of a Burn License (laminate).

FAST and outside authorities, including law enforcement, retain jurisdiction over all flame classifications. They have the right to request to see the Burn License and if not presented can override, stop, alter or cancel any artwork or performance with just cause. They have access to all areas of the artwork or performance at all times.

Flame Classifications

Burning Man has created a set of definitions that will help participants understand and plan for the use of fire and pyrotechnics in art installations, camps and Mutant Vehicles. These definitions will be referenced throughout this section.

  • Open Fire is defined as simple burning of solid or unpressurized liquid fuels, without any enhancement by mechanical devices, extra oxidizers or pyrotechnic materials. Examples of open fire include burning sculptural installations, as well as burn barrels, braziers, oil lamps, torches, candles and other simple uses of fire. Read our Open Fire Guidelines.
  • Flame Effect is defined as “The combustion of solids, liquids, or gases to produce thermal, physical, visual, or audible phenomena before an audience.” This includes all flames that are automated, switched, pressurized or having any other action than simply being lit on fire; as well as projects using propane or other liquid or gaseous fuels. (Note: liquid fuel flame effects are not allowed in theme camps or on Mutant Vehicles.) Read our Flame Effects Guidelines.
  • Pyrotechnics refers to the art, craft and science of fireworks, which includes any explosives or projectiles. All pyrotechnic special effects material used in any art installation or performance must consist of consumer fireworks [1.4G Class C, UN0336] or less. Read our Pyrotechnics Guidelines.

Fire in Theme Camps

The use of flame effects and burn barrels is allowed within theme camps, but the urban density of the camping area of Black Rock City poses some additional challenges and issues.

A small burn barrel or flame effect at the entrance to your camp can be just the thing to help guide you and your campmates back late at night, but the reality of a tent fire or a more serious situation arising from its misuse is a threat to participant safety and the future of our event.

Each camp should designate someone who is responsible, not under the effects of drugs or alcohol, and present at all times to monitor fires and/or flame effects and be prepared to extinguish the fire if wind conditions kick up. For details, read our Guidelines for Use of Fire in Theme Camps.

Flame Effects on Mutant Vehicles

All Mutant Vehicles must be registered and approved by Burning Man’s Department of Mutant Vehicles. Flame effects are allowed on Mutant Vehicles, although liquid-fueled effects and burn barrels or other open fire are prohibited.

While all standards for LP-Gas (or “propane”) flame effects also apply to Mutant Vehicles, there are additional considerations specific to Mutant Vehicles that must also be addressed. For details, read our guidelines for Flame Effects on Mutant Vehicles.