DMV FAQ (Mutant Vehicle Owner’s Handbook)

2024 Mutant Vehicle Owner's Handbook
2024 Mutant Vehicle Owner’s Handbook













CURRENT REVISION: 06/13/2024 (First Draft for 2024)





This web page is both the Department of Mutant Vehicles Frequently Asked Questions page and the Mutant Vehicle Owners Handbook and Event Operation Guide. Below, you will find the answers to most of the commonly asked questions regarding bringing a Mutant Vehicle to Burning Man.

This FAQ/HANDBOOK is updated every year with the latest information regarding rules and requirements that Mutant Vehicle teams must follow when bringing and operating their vehicle at the event.


This is the 2024 edition of the Mutant Vehicle Owner’s Handbook, REQUIRED READING for all Mutant Vehicle owners.

This Handbook outlines information every Mutant Vehicle owner needs to know and understand.  We will update the Handbook regularly until two weeks before the event.  When the final version of the Handbook is published, download it and bring a printed or electronic copy to Burning Man for reference.


You should have received your Mutant Vehicle Invite email from “” with your name, the vehicle name, and your vehicle registration number (M24-####). You need this letter to start your on-playa registration process, and if you are towing your Mutant Vehicle, you will need to provide this letter to the Gate staff.

Do NOT forget your Mutant Vehicle Invite email.  We suggest printing out your letter and storing it with your Burning Man ticket!

If you do not have a copy of your Mutant Vehicle Invite email, please get in touch with the DMV immediately at


You’ve built your great MV and brought it to the playa a few times, and you thought you would bring it again this year, but then…things happen.  For whatever reason, you decide it’s time to part with old Bessie (or Clyde, or “The Thing from 40,000 Fathoms”).  If you haven’t applied to bring your Mutant Vehicle this year, there really isn’t anything you will need to do beforehand, but if you’ve already applied and your Mutant Vehicle has been invited to come to this year’s Burning Man, what do you do?

DON’T PANIC. The DMV can assist.

First, it’s important to remember that your Mutant Vehicle invitation or any Setup Access Passes that you may have been allotted are not directly transferable to a new owner.  The original application includes an agreement between you and Burning Man. While the invites are not transferable, in cases where the original applicant can’t attend or sells a vehicle after applying, we will allow new owners or others to apply to bring the same mutant vehicle to the playa. We will then review their application and consider both the vehicle history and the new responsible party’s history (if any) and then confirm whether we will offer a new invite.

The reason behind some of the bureaucracy is we’ve had some situations where folks have tried to skirt some aspect of the system (renting MVs; being denied a license because of past on-playa behavior, then saying they sold the vehicle to another person to circumvent that denial).

A final thing you should be aware of is that there are some things you should NOT include in any ad you post to sell your vehicle:

  1. Pictures from the Burning Man event (the intellectual property team will be contacting you fairly quickly).
  2. Any indication that your vehicle is already or automatically invited.  You also cannot indicate that Early Admission is included, (The DMV will need to reassess Early Admission for the new owners after receiving their application).

That said, yes, we can help facilitate another person bringing the vehicle if you end up selling it. Once you have sold it, you will need to send us the person’s name and email, and we will deactivate your current invitation and send them the information on how to submit a replacement application in their name. So, the first thing you should really do is email us at We’ll help walk you through the process.


Receiving an invite to bring your vehicle to the playa does not guarantee a license. Many vehicles are given the benefit of the doubt based on their description and design image and are invited for inspection, but that does not mean they will pass the final review. Actual licenses are granted in Black Rock City if, and ONLY if, you pass the on-playa inspection.

Be sure that the vehicle you bring for inspection is a well-executed representation of the intent you described in your application.

[Avoid this mistake]



All vehicles driven (as opposed to those on trailers or towed) into Black Rock City require a “Vehicle Pass”. The Vehicle Pass system reduces the number of vehicles entering BRC by increasing the number of participants per vehicle.


  • If you drive your Mutant into Black Rock City, it needs a Vehicle Pass.
  • Vehicles on trailers and those being towed into the event do not need a Vehicle Pass as long as the tow vehicle has one.
  • If you do not have a Vehicle Pass, it can be purchased via the OMG Sale.  You do not need to purchase a ticket at the OMG sale to purchase a Vehicle Pass.



NOTE: The name of these passes has changed this year from Setup Access Passes (SAPs) to Setup Access Passes (SAPs).

If you requested Setup Access Passes (SAPs) for assembling your Mutant Vehicle on-playa in your application, you should receive a confirmation email from the DMV noting whether you were granted SAPs, how many, and for which days. These emails are sent out around the second week in June each year.

Please note: You may not have received as many SAPs as you requested, and they may be for different dates. Everyone permitted to enter BRC before the event’s official start MUST be working on their project(s), so your request may have been adjusted.

The SAP confirmation email from us is NOT your official Setup Access Pass. The actual barcode passes are sent separately from Burning Man no later than the second week of August. The DMV will email all SAP recipients when the final SAPs are sent.

You will receive one uniquely coded pass for each person.  You may distribute these within your group as you see fit, but as the registered Mutant Vehicle owner, you are responsible for the conduct of anyone admitted with your SAPs. Do NOT duplicate them or give them to other groups.

Once your SAPs are sent out you will be able to access them here:

If you do not yet have a login, you can use the “Forgot Password” link to create one and access your SAPs.

You will NOT be admitted to the city before the gate opens unless you have a valid SAP. If you have a SAP, do not show up at the gate before the date listed on the pass, or you will be turned away.  SAPs are good from the date listed forward (for example: if you have a SAP dated for Tuesday, pre-event, it is good from that date or any date after that prior to the gate opening).

When you come to the gate, every person in your vehicle needs a valid Setup Access Pass and Burning Man paper ticket. You can pick up any tickets held in WILL CALL before you reach the gate.


While the DMV will begin operation at 1:00 PM on Saturday pre-event for participants with Setup Access Passes, no driving is allowed prior to the EVENT START on Sunday other than driving to and from the DMV (with your DMV invite letter on board) for the licensing process.  The BLM is adamant that no general cruising is allowed until the event starts at 6:00 PM Sunday.


Setup Access Passes (SAPs) are for your Mutant Vehicle assembly crew and/or Camp infrastructure team to build your Mutant Vehicle and set up camp. They are *not* meant for a carpool or rideshare. They are *not* meant to be used for financial gain.

Burning Man has found instances where folks sold Setup Access Passes. When we find these instances, THE ENTIRE CAMP OR MUTANT VEHICLE TEAM EARLY ADMISSION PASSES ARE VOIDED. Also, ANY PLACEMENT FOR THAT TEAM WILL BE CANCELLED.


If you have Setup Access Passes but are not with a placed camp, you may ONLY camp in open camping outside of the blue flags before gate opening.

Camp outside the blue-flagged zones to avoid reserved zones and then having to relocate your camp. Choose space for those physically present – not for friends arriving after the Gate opens. Holding space for anyone not present or without their own SAP is strictly prohibited.



Setting up in open camping before Gate opens is okay for mutant vehicles who are in Black Rock City early with SAPs and who are not part of placed camps, including theme camps, villages, and mutant vehicle camps. Please do not camp on blocks within blue flags as those delineate reserved camping. If you have trouble determining where open camping is, please find event staff with a radio for Placement. Grabbing larger swaths of land for your friends without SAPs is not permitted. Please only take as much space as you need for yourself and grow organically as others from your camp arrive. Do not section off open areas with caution tape or other materials. Talk to incoming neighbors about the space you’ll need for your friends and work together to ensure everyone gets what they need.

Guess what? LAND GRABBING IS NOT COOL! Please keep Black Rock City open for other open campers and for people who don’t have the privilege of being in BRC before the gates open!

The Placement Team will monitor open camping for people who land grab and may ask to see your SAPs to verify who issued them. Should we find people from Mutant Vehicle teams land grabbing or misusing SAPs, they will be escalated to the DMV and may affect your standing with Placement and the DMV.























(not to scale)


The DMV inspection area is located on the open playa, approximately 100 feet from the corner of the Esplanade and the 1:00 side of the Center Camp Keyhole. When you arrive, a Greeter will meet you and direct you into an inspection lane.


Bring your vehicle to the DMV when it is 100% READY to be inspected, not “almost done.” This includes Mutation, Lights, Flame Effects, Walkers, etc. Due to the large number of vehicles we need to inspect, the DMV does not have the time to review vehicles twice. The DMV will not offer a “second chance” to make changes if your vehicle is incomplete when you arrive for inspection.

The person registering the Mutant Vehicle must bring a valid Driver’s License or other Government-issued photo ID to be able to register and receive their MV License.



The DMV hours for 2024 beginning Saturday, August 24th

SATURDAY 1:00 pm  – 10:30 pm
SUNDAY 1:00 pm  – 10:30 pm
MONDAY 1:00 pm  – 10:30 pm
TUESDAY 11:30 am  – 10:30 pm
WEDNESDAY 11:30 am  – 10:30 pm

THURSDAY 3:30 pm  –  8:30 pm
FRIDAY 3:30 pm  –  8:30 pm

SATURDAY 11:30 am  –  2:30 pm

NOTE:  Saturday – Monday the DMV will open 11:30 am – 1:00 pm for ACCESSIBILITY VEHICLES ONLY.



For all vehicles except those invited for ZIP-LINE, your FIRST visit to the DMV MUST be during daylight hours to complete all paperwork, inspection, and photography. We will not do night inspections for vehicles that have not been inspected during the day.  This is true, EVEN IF YOU ARE ONLY APPLYING FOR A NIGHT LICENSE.



All vehicles applying for a night license must return to the DMV after dark to demonstrate their radical night illumination.  For night inspection, please arrive at the DMV early enough before closing to allow your vehicle to be inspected. The DMV will close the line when we estimate the number of remaining vehicles will take us the amount of time until closing to inspect.



ZipLine inspection is based on the history of each vehicle, and Mutant Vehicles included in ZipLine will be sent an additional invite email prior to the event notifying them of their status.
ZipLine approved Vehicles can come for their inspection during either EITHER Day or Night and will be inspected for both day and night licenses at the same time.



Burning Man does not permit vehicles that resemble emergency services vehicles, including any vehicles decorated with red, blue, or amber rotating/flashing lights or vehicles with sirens. During an emergency, participants MUST be able to differentiate between an actual emergency vehicle and a Mutant Vehicle or other vehicles.


Licenses are a 12″ x  3″ bumper sticker to be placed on the rear left side (MANDATORY).

If your vehicle is approved for a day and night license, you will need a 12″ by 6″ space for two stickers ON THE LOWER LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE REAR OF YOUR VEHICLE.


Any vehicle 13 feet wide or more OR 25 feet or longer will be designated Playa Only.

While a “Playa Only” vehicle CAN drive in the city proper, it can ONLY drive on the shortest route between its camp and the open playa with no turns. No other cruising or other driving is allowed within the city.

For example, if you are parking your vehicle along the “I” street, you would be allowed to drive from 10:00 or 2:00 (whichever was closest) along “I” to your camp. and back the same way….unless you couldn’t turn the vehicle around, so then you would be able to go along “I” the same original direction until you hit the playa.



Important details for MV’s with Flame Effects

All flame effect burners or discharge points must be above head height. This is at least 10 feet above the highest point a person can stand on or around the vehicle. This allows plenty of height above heads and a little extra in case the wind presses it down a bit.

Use of Flame Effects within the City

The use of Flame Effects within the City streets can present a greater risk than they do on the open playa. As your mutant Vehicle passes into the City and you are driving in the narrow streets you are in a new set of risks. The flames that were well overhead height in on the open playa are now at face height or even below folks standing on scaffolds, fabric, and banners can blow into the path of your flames and you are only inches away from other vehicles as you pass. Does any of that sound dangerous? Well, it is! Please if your mutant vehicle has puffers, please think twice about using them as you pass through the city. If your MV has a steady flame be aware of the wind blowing flammables into the flames and your proximity to things you are alongside. Any unsafe behavior of any kind will not be permitted and may affect your ability to register your MV in the future.


If your Mutant Vehicle has Flame Effects (FE), it must be inspected BEFORE you can operate the FE within Black Rock City.  The Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) conducts vehicle inspections in a separate area adjacent to the DMV inspection lanes.

FE inspectors are available from 2:00 pm-6:00 pm, Saturday 08/24 through Friday 08/30.

For questions or concerns regarding Flame Effects, please email:



If your Mutant Vehicle is equipped with ANY type of Laser Effect (LE), it must be inspected BEFORE you can operate the LE within Black Rock City.

The Laser Art Safety Team (L.A.S.T.) will contact all vehicles that applied with lasers and will arrange to inspect your vehicle by appointment.

For laser-related questions, email L.A.S.T. at





Failure to follow BRC’s driving protocol may result in any or all of the following;

  • Revocation of your Mutant Vehicle license
  • Ejection of the vehicle from the event
  • Fines
  • Ejection of the vehicle’s owner from the event without a refund
  • Denial of future Mutant Vehicle Licensing



The decision of whether or not to invite and/or grant a license for a Mutant Vehicle to operate at Burning Man is within the sole discretion of the Black Rock City DMV, and it may revoke any issued license for any reason. You agreed to obey BRC driving rules when you originally applied for your license; you will sign the agreement again when you get your license.

Here is a reminder of some of our core driving policies:.

  • Be sober while driving: If you are caught driving your vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence on federal property. You do not want to find yourself in this situation! Be sober while driving!
  • Obey the speed limit: The maximum speed limit in Black Rock City is 5 MPH on all city streets AND the open playa.
  • No driving during whiteouts: If you are in your vehicle and away from your camp during a whiteout, stop where you are and wait for the whiteout to clear.
  • Turn down your sound system while driving on city streets:
    Be respectful and turn your music down while in the city… especially at night and/or in quiet areas (e.g. Kidsville). See MUTANT VEHICLE SOUND POLICY


Mutant Vehicles may not be driven on pedestrian-only streets, including the Esplanade, the Promenades at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00, inside the Great Circle (the circle around the man), and any area specifically marked “Pedestrian Only”. A final Black Rock City map with designated no-driving areas will be included on the back of the Mutant Vehicle Agreement form you will sign when you arrive at the DMV.


Great Circle
The Great Circle is the ring that circles the Man 400 feet from the center of the Man Pavilion, also marked by the lantern poles on the 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00 promenades. This area is off-limits to Mutant Vehicles.  Please make sure to stay OUTSIDE of the Great Circle.

NOTE: Accessibility Vehicles are allowed within the Great Circle but MUST enter through the promenade entrances.


Once your Mutant Vehicle is ready for operation, your first stop is the DMV.  If a Ranger or law enforcement officer sees you driving without a Mutant or Accessibility License, and you are not obviously on your way to the DMV for inspection, you will be directed back to your campsite and risk ejection of your vehicle.  If your vehicle is not ready for inspection, or you have been inspected and did not pass,…leave it parked.


A mutant vehicle in the shape of a trumpet at Burning Man 2022.


A Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy We Can All Understand and Live With


Face it; nobody comes to Burning Man for the peace ‘n quiet. Nobody!
We all have earplugs at the tippy-top of our packing lists because we know that BRC is a noisy place… and for many of us that is a key component of the attraction. That said, there’s also the expectation that some activities and some locations will be less noisy than others. As a community, we know that there needs to be a place for large-scale Mutant Vehicle sound & big dance clubs. However, there must also be a place for yoga classes, guided meditation workshops, karaoke, and piano bars.

For many years the Department of Mutant Vehicles has had a sound policy that was difficult to understand; it described various levels of sound amplification based on amplifier wattage and referred to system loudness in decibels (a unit of measurement of sound pressure that uses a logarithmic scale and isn’t widely understood). The policy was not well written; compliance was poor; it wasn’t well enforced, and, speaking frankly, we’ve had some bad behavior that spoiled it for everybody else.

The goal for the Department of Mutant Vehicles Sound Policy is to have a well-defined and easy-to-understand set of guidelines that work equally well for Mutant Vehicle owners and the greater BRC community.

As a community, we need to work together to keep sound at desirable levels. This means that everyone involved is personally responsible for how they affect everyone else’s experience.

Sound Policy

TL;DR version

  • DO play music while parked in your camp in compliance with Black Rock City’s Sound Policy. 
  • DO play music as loud as you want while in motion on the open playa.
  • DO Play as loud and as long as you want within the DMZ. 
  • Do NOT play amplified music while driving in the city streets between 2:00 am and 10:00 am. 
  • Always be considerate of camps, art installations and their activities, especially near the Esplanade. Turn down your sound if other activities are already in progress.
  • Limit your stationary time (with music on) at art installations to 3 hours.
  • Respect the Temple Burn.

The Policy

  1. City Street QuietHours:
    1. Yep, you read that right; Mutant Vehicles are not permitted to use amplified sound while driving through the streets of Black Rock City between the hours of 2:00 am and 10:00 am. This is perhaps the most significant change from past sound policies.
    2. During QuietHours, if an MV has left its designated camp area and is en route to another location or parked within the city streets, the sound system must be off (“Off” is defined as; inaudible from outside the vehicle) until the MV returns to its camp or has entered the open playa and is at least 100 yards/meters from Esplanade. The QuietHours apply to all circular & radial streets, keyholes, plazas, and center camp.
    3. Acoustic music (un-amplified human voices, acoustic musical instruments, etc.) on moving MV’s is permitted during QuietHours.
    4. Between 10 am and 2 am, amplified sound is permitted within the city streets, but you should always be mindful of where you are located, how loud your sound is, and how it may be affecting others around you.
  2. A Mutant Vehicle may use amplified sound while parked within its placed MV camp or placed theme camp:
    1. MVs make great sound stages, karaoke bars, and discotheques. As long as you are within the boundaries of a Mutant Vehicle camp or Theme Camp area that was assigned to you by the Placement team or within a placed camp that has invited you to park in their camp, you may use your MV’s sound system as if it were a stationary installation in your camp. As with all stationary sound, you will be expected to comply with Black Rock City’s 2023 sound policy.
  3. You can play music (yes, even loud music) almost everywhere on the open playa. Some limitations apply:
    1. Mutant Vehicles may use amplified sound at any time of the day or night, without restriction on sound levels, in nearly all areas of the inner playa (the space within bound by the Esplanade and Temple) and outer playa (the space beyond the Temple, 2:00, and 10:00).
        1. MVs may play amplified sound for no longer than 3 hours while parked in any one location. When parked at or near an art installation, you must ask the artist for consent prior to playing amplified sound.
        2. MV operators & owners must be aware of the general nature of an art installation (e.g. if it’s meant to be a quiet, introspective project) and of any programming that may be taking place at the artwork before they approach, park, and/or play their own music at the installation.
        3. MVs must be respectful when passing and/or parking near The Temple, The Man, and at/near all art installations on the open playa.
        4. MVs must be respectful when using amplified sound within 100 yards of Esplanade and within 100 yards of the 2:00 and 10:00 radial streets unless agreed upon in partnership with camps facing those streets.
  4. As LOUD and as long* as you want! (*up to 12 hours):
      1. The Department of Mutant Vehicles has established a Deep-Playa Music Zone (“DMZ”) where Mutant Vehicles using large sound systems can park and party in the deep playa for extended periods of time. The zone is 5,340 feet from The Man between the 10:30 and 11:15 clock positions. The DMZ allows for a stay of up to 12 hours, and it provides sanitary stations and Emergency Medical Services. At just over 22 acres (960,698 sqft!) in area, the DMZ is large enough to support multiple large mutant vehicles simultaneously. Furthermore, there are NO volume or sound pressure limits in the DMZ (note, however, that speakers must be oriented to point away from the city).
        Go for it!
  5. Policy Violations: 
      1. A single violation of any of the above policies could result in the immediate revocation of the Mutant Vehicle’s current DMV license, and the MV will need to return to its camp location and remain parked there for the duration of the Burning Man event. A subsequent infraction could result in the Mutant Vehicle being ejected from Black Rock City. Violations may affect future MV registration.
  6. NO Mutant Vehicle sound at Temple Burn:
    1. Mutant Vehicles must turn off their sound systems upon arrival at the Temple burn perimeter.  Any use of amplified sound at the Temple Burn could result in the forfeiture of DMV licensing at future Burning Man events. Please don’t do it!
  7. Enforcement:
    1. The Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy will be enforced by members of the DMV Council, members of the Placement Department, and the Black Rock Rangers. Members of each of these teams are authorized to issue warnings, revoke vehicle licenses, and/or request that a vehicle be ejected from the event site. Ejections will be processed by the Black Rock Rangers.


The DMV receives a lot of feedback yearly from Black Rock Citizens about Mutant Vehicles. An ongoing concern is that Mutant Vehicles are often perceived as ‘exclusive’.  We’ve heard several stories about someone seeing a Mutant Vehicle in deep playa and asking for a ride, only to be told “sorry, this is a private party,” or something to that effect.

We recognize that not all Mutant Vehicles are designed to carry passengers, but for those that do, we encourage you to share your vehicles with others and give rides to those that need or ask.  This is a great way to meet people and a wonderful show of community. Proper etiquette should be followed; we hope you will make your vehicle available for all participants to ride your vehicle as long as it is safe and reasonable.

Please See the Mutant Vehicle Transport (MVT) program below and consider taking part.

Crowdfunding  and “Perks”

To better align with the Principles that guide our community, we no longer support using “Thank You Cruises” or other on-playa-delivered perks as crowdfunding rewards.

We recognize that many Mutant Vehicles are large, ongoing endeavors that require a lot of time and resources to bring to the playa each year.  While we strongly encourage you to engage with your immediate community through fundraising events to bring your Mutant Vehicle to Burning Man, perk-based fundraising efforts, including those on sites like GoFundMe and Indiegogo, have a higher likelihood of crossing into the “Doing it Wrong” territory.

While the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong can sometimes be a gray area, Burners will be the first to let you know when you’re veering into doing it wrong territory. It may backfire on you if the community feels you’re trading special access for donations or otherwise “selling off” pieces of the Black Rock City experience. The general agreement among our community is that perks that equate to resources, such as e-bikes, shelter, food, or tickets, go against the Principles of Decommodification and Radical Self-Reliance, and perk experiences that exclude the general population of Black Rock City, such as a private night on a Mutant Vehicle or private party, is doing it wrong and against the Principle of Radical Inclusion.

Fundraising perks done right often look like things like custom t-shirts or stickers with your MV logo, art prints, necklaces, or a personalized thank-you note from the Mutant Vehicle crew. These types of rewards are meant as a token of appreciation rather than an exchange of a donation for an object or resource of equal monetary value.

We should also note that, as stated in the Ticket Terms and Conditions, Burning Man Tickets and/or Vehicle passes may not be included as rewards as part of any fundraiser. The terms on the back of the ticket state:


We understand that fundraising is an arduous endeavor. To strike a balance between respecting the Ten Principles and allowing room for MV owners to fundraise for their projects, we encourage MV Teams to submit their fundraisers to the Burning Man “Support a Project” page. Projects included in our “Support a Project” page may receive additional exposure by mentions and highlights in our Jackrabbit Speaks newsletters.



Mutant Vehicle Transport Logo

“Random rides to random places, on playa time”

This year we are updating the program formerly known as B.A.I.T (Burn Area Imprecise Transit) to better accommodate Burners and Mutant Vehicle teams.  The New Program is simply Mutant Vehicle Transport (MVT) and is designed to promote an interactive culture between participants and mutant vehicles. 

Our mission is to promote ADVENTURE, COOPERATION, and CONSENT related to riding Mutant Vehicles. MVT is an opportunity for you to share your art—your Mutant Vehicles—with the other citizens of our loved city.

As a Mutant Vehicle operator, your contributions to Black Rock City make us the most creative volunteer public recreation system on the planet! We want to connect as many citizens as possible of BRC with Mutant Vehicles through the Mutant Vehicle Transport program.

How it works: 

There will be shaded and seated stops in the following places: Along the Esplanade (the Playa side) near 2:00, 4:00, 8:00, and 10:00, at The Man, the Temple, and at the DMV. Participants interested in a ride will be waiting at these stops. At any time, Monday through Friday, any Mutant Vehicle can swing by these stops as they drive around the playa and pick up waiting participants. There is no advanced sign-up. You decide when and where you participate. There are no official routes or timetables.

The stops will be clearly labeled as Mutant Vehicle Transport stops and will look like this:


Mutant Vehicle Transport Stop

How we’re getting the word out to participants: 

We’ll be promoting the MVT program to a wide audience with entries into the Spark Plug, the Jackrabbit Speaks, the survival guide, the WHAT WHERE WHEN guide, and Public Service Announcements on Burning Man Information Radio (BMIR) throughout the event.

Mutant Vehicle Transport Q&A

  • Q: Is Mutant Vehicle Transport mandatory?
    • A: No, however, it is encouraged
  • Q: Do I have the right to refuse boarding?
    • A: Yes if someone is visibly too intoxicated or being rude. On that note, you can also ask someone to disembark if they become too intoxicated or are harassing or rude
  • Q: Can I bring people from my own camp with me?
    • A: Of Course, but remember to save an ample amount of space to take on riders.
  • Q: How long do I have to stay at each stop?
    • A: Please wait a couple of minutes at each stop. Also, feel free to let anyone who may be around, standing around, or milling about know that you are there to give rides and that they are welcome to join.
  • Q: How will riders know that I want to pick them up?
    • A: Just stop at a stop and call out to any participants sitting or standing around.
  • Q: What if I’m full?
    • A: If your vehicle is full, please continue to stop briefly if someone is standing at the stop and let them know you are full. Hopefully, if that happens, there will be someone behind you who has more room.
  • Q: Will anybody from the DMV be at the stops?
    • A: There will not be anyone taking count or checking up on you. There may be DMV folks that want to take a ride so they might be there. They may or may not identify who they are. DMV people like to have fun, too!
  • Q: When do I have to sign up for Mutant Vehicle Transport?
    • A: There is no sign-up (that’s right, NO SIGN-UP!). We encourage any and all MVs to pick up riders whenever they are near a stop.


If you serve food or alcohol to the public from your Mutant Vehicle, you may need a permit from the state of Nevada. Please visit the following website for more information:

It is a misdemeanor to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years old in Nevada.  The law applies if the alcohol is gifted or sold.  Law Enforcement has been known to use sting operations. Know the laws about serving people alcohol and follow them, or you may end up being fined or arrested.




  • Boarding is permitted only at full stop and NEVER between Vehicle and Trailer
  • Mutant Vehicle Operators should ensure their vehicle is at a full stop before allowing participants to board or exit, and not while it is in motion.


All vehicle levels (floors, decks, walkways, etc) that are located 84 inches or more above the playa surface should have guardrails around their perimeter. These guardrails should be located at a height of 36-48 inches above the floor surface. Allowances may be made for ingress and egress zones no more than 36″ wide


All Mutant Vehicles that have trailers of any kind must have a barrier in place that prevents any person from intentionally or unintentionally entering the space between the trailer and the tow vehicle (or between one trailer and the next trailer).  This barrier must have a minimum height of no more than 12 inches from the playa surface and a maximum height that is EITHER equal to the maximum height of the Mutant vehicle (for very low vehicles) OR no less than 36 inches above the playa surface.  The barrier must be in place before the vehicle moves and must remain in place when the vehicle is in motion. Regardless of how they are constructed, trailer barriers must be strong and secure enough to block the passage of people trying to walk (or unintentionally walk) through the hitch area.

No vehicle or trailer ingress or egress location (door, ramp, steps or other entrance) may be located in the space between the trailer and tow vehicle (or between two trailers), unless provisions are in place that will prevent the motion of the vehicle while passengers are loading and unloading. No ingress/egress from second levels (eg. ladders, stairs) is permitted to be in the space between a trailer and tow vehicle (or between 2 trailers) at any time.  At all times after sunset, the space between the trailer and the tow vehicle and between one trailer and the next trailer must be self-illuminated and must discourage any person from intentionally or unintentionally entering the space.

Examples of valid trailer barriers




NOTE:  Trailers with barriers that are deemed insufficient to block passage into the hitch area will not be licensed by the DMV.


Mutant Vehicles may not carry extra liquid fuel for the safety of passengers and crews. Portable gas cans are not to be carried on Mutant Vehicles unless the vehicle is traveling between the fueling station and camp.



Li-ion batteries are very efficient, lightweight, and reliable – well, until they aren’t. Li-ion batteries are also known to have thermal runaway effects that can be highly dangerous.

For Mutant Vehicles using Li-ion batteries, the operator should be aware of the following:

  • Locate the batteries in an accessible place, away from passengers
  • Examine your batteries every day; if any deformation occurs, contact the Black Rock Rangers to ask Emergency Services (ESD) for assistance.  You can flag down any Ranger or staff with a Radio to call for ESD assistance.
  • Batteries may rapidly go into a thermal runaway; this is often preceded by a loud “POP” followed by a noxious smoke – have people move away rapidly (fire drill)
  • A battery in thermal runaway may shoot high-temperature flames and even have projectiles – evacuation distance should be at least 100’ or more
  • Batteries in thermal runaway will continue to push other cells into thermal runaway

ESD (Emergency Services) will attempt to cool the battery if it has not gone into full deflagration. If possible to remove a damaged battery safely, ESD will contain the damaged battery and provide for disposal according to safe practices regarding these types of incidents.

Things that can cause a battery to go into thermal runaway:

  • Excessive heat (160 F may cause this to occur)
  • Overcharging
  • Excessive discharging
  • Any crushing or puncture of the battery envelope

Li-ion batteries are very safe, but they can become very unsafe under certain circumstances, as described above. A damaged battery can be managed safely by trained personnel. A battery in a thermal runaway is a very hostile and dangerous situation – it is most important to move away from the battery when the “pop” or smoke is identified.


As Black Rock City is a pedestrian city, all vehicles must yield to pedestrian traffic. To do this safely, vehicles that are large, long, or where the driver does not have a clear view of the front and back of the vehicle, must have walkers and/or spotters when the vehicle is in motion. The walkers and/or spotters must have direct communication with the driver and be in a position where they can stop participants from entering dangerous areas around a vehicle while it is in motion.

The number of walkers and spotters required varies per vehicle and must ensure safe navigation. The walkers and/or spotters must have identifying markings or attire that associate them with their vehicle. Examples of markings/attire include reflective safety vests, brightly colored or reflective hats, brightly colored or reflective bandanas, and brightly colored or reflective shirts.

A video surveillance system cannot be substituted in place of walkers. Walkers or spotters cannot replace a trailer barrier.


Below are the Black Rock Rangers’ guidelines for Mutant Vehicle perimeters during the Man and Temple Burns and other large Burn events.

Before the Man and Temple burns, the Rangers place orange stanchions, or the “Orange Line”,  that mark the outer perimeter for Mutant Vehicles.

Most returning Mutant Vehicle teams already know how and where to place yourselves, and we thank you for being such wonderful Burners!  This is to help formalize that knowledge, assist new MVs, and make it easier to determine a safe minimum distance for your MV.

The closest safe viewing zone around the Man/Temple/Other Burn is reserved for participants only.  From the participant perimeter, as established by the Artists or Perimeter Rangers, it is approximately 90 feet deep.

However, the Promenades around the Man and Temple at 3:00, 6:00. 9:00 and 12:00 are fire lanes, and for emergency vehicle access only.  They are to remain clear of both participants and MV’s before and during the burn event.

Each Mutant Vehicle has their own perimeter line, according to their size (and guidance from the BLM).  These lines can be roughly determined by the number of steps, or paces, from the participant perimeter line out to MV space.

We call these the PACE LINES

  • The 40 PACE LINE (120 ft) is the perimeter line for small (cart-sized) MV’s.
  • The 50 PACE LINE (150 ft) is for medium (car-sized) MV’s.
  • The 70 PACE LINE (210 ft) is for large (truck-sized) MV’s.
  • The 100 PACE LINE (300 ft) is for the largest (bus-sized) MV’s.

The only exception to the above guidelines are for small, cart-sized Accessibility Vehicles, whose seated participants cannot see over standing participants.  They may park at the rear of the participant crowd that is sitting on the playa, but may not group together in a way that might create a barrier.



The average human stride, or pace, is about two to three feet long. By becoming a human yardstick, you can walk off distances yourself. 50 feet would be about 20-25 paces, and 100 feet about 40-50 paces.

From the participant perimeter, walk the appropriate number of paces for your MV size, and you will be about where, at minimum, you may place your MV.

As more participants and MV’s arrive, and it becomes too difficult to walk off the paces, surrounding MV’s may provide a rough guide for placing your MV.

Please be mindful of the view of those around you when you place your Mutant Vehicle.

Also, please keep clear participant and MV through-paths between your MV and the MVs around you, especially along the Orange Line. The pathways should be wide enough for an emergency vehicle to pass through.

Ranger teams are available to help manage the through paths and to assist with Mutant Vehicle placement concerns.


Every large Burn event has falling embers, usually between 12:00 and 3:00.  These embers can, and have, set an MV on fire.

If your MV is capable of catching fire from a heavy ember, place it away from where the prevailing winds might carry those embers.

If an ember falls on your MV, watch and protect it, and do not leave it unattended.  If possible, and without endangering participants, move it out of the way staying within the 5-mph speed limit.



Each year the DMV receives multiple requests from MV Owners for assistance/use of BRC Heavy Equipment (Fork Lifts, Cranes) in assembling their vehicles on-playa.

The Heavy Equipment at BRC is first and foremost dedicated to the building of the Man, the Man Base, funded art installations, and BRC infrastructure.  The Heavy Equipment and Transport (HEaT) team has limited ability to assist Mutant Vehicle owners and theme camps with their needs. (Note that in years past, HEaT volunteers have worked on their days off to help camps and MV owners with their equipment needs.)


 If you need heavy equipment assistance, your very first recourse should be to work with other camps/MV owners to coordinate shared resources among multiple groups.  The ePlaya is a great resource to work with other MVs/camps to pool resources.

If you still would like to request assistance from HEaT, please understand that while they will ATTEMPT to assist, they may not have the time to do so.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTACT HEaT DIRECTLY.  To request assistance, please go to the following link and fill out a HEaT Assistance Request Form:

The DMV will contact you regarding your request.



Thanks for taking the time to read this and understanding all of the rules for Mutant Vehicles.

If you have any questions about any of the material above, please contact the DMV at:



“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.

Black Rock City Sound Policy

Updated June 2024

The playa is a natural amplifier and it doesn’t take much to produce a large amount of sound. Bass travels multi-directionally and cannot be effectively contained with any structures. This gives “sound” as an art form an unfair advantage over other art forms. Burning Man is dedicated to radical self-expression, andit is also dedicated to creating community. This means we all must find a way to get along with our neighbors. History has led us to this point where we MUST give guidelines on amplification and limit space for this sort of art.

The following guidelines make up our basic sound policy. We believe that sound management is best done between neighbors to set sound levels that can be mutually agreed upon even if it’s above or below the levels we are offering as a guideline:

  • 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.
  • 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.

To assist with negotiating sound levels, we also provide these ideas to mitigate sound:

  • Within the city, sound systems can point internally within the camp producing the sound.
  • Sound amplification should not be so loud that people can not speak at a conversational level at the border of any neighboring camp and at the center point of a street. 
  • Acceptable sound levels are below 75 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.

Getting Help 

Any complaints about excessive sound may be escalated to the Black Rock Rangers. Concerns about excessive sound can result in:

  • Volume check
  • Mediation between camps
  • A final warning regarding complaints
  • Disabling of equipment
  • Notification of the Placement team and possible impact to a camp’s standing and future placement

Loud vs. Quiet

There are no “loud” and “quiet” sides of the city. These are subjective terms, and they create expectations that may be impossible to meet. These terms create infinite gray areas regarding what is perceived to be “loud” or “quiet,” and this results in difficult negotiations between neighbors.

Large-scale Sound Zone

All large-scale sound systems will be located in the Large-Scale Sound Zones along 2:00 and 10:00. Like all theme camps, these camps will be encouraged to be as creative and interactive as possible. The primary rule is that all speakers MUST be turned away from greater Black Rock City toward the open playa at all times and not point internally into the city. Sound levels for sound systems on the Esplanade will be measured for conversational levels 100’ in the open playa across from the Esplanade. 

Sound Complaints

If you believe your neighbor’s sound is too loud and you are not able to effectively negotiate a solution, you may report this to a Black Rock Ranger for assistance. (Please do not mistake a BLM Ranger for our own.) Black Rock Ranger stations are located at 3:00&C, 9:00&C, and Esplanade&5:45. Rangers may also be found out on patrol in BRC. A complaint should include:

  1. The exact SOURCE of the sound. (Vague reports will result in no action or ineffective action.)
  2. The exact TIME of the disturbance. (Vague reports will result in no action or ineffective action). Please report problems when they happen, although reports filed the next day can be useful with persistent problem camps. Rangers and Placement will not take action on issues of taste.

Law Enforcement

Black Rock City and the roads leading to and from the event are patrolled by the following agencies:

  • Pershing County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO)
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO)
  • Nevada State Police (NSP), formerly Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP)
  • Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Police Department (PLPT)

It is not the stated mission of these agencies to police your lifestyle or inhibit self-expression. They serve the same functions as the police in any city — to protect public safety and respond to violations of the law that are brought to their attention or are in plain view.

We Want Your Feedback About Law Enforcement

Did you have any interaction with law enforcement at Burning Man? Was it a positive experience? Was it a negative experience? Whether you were cited or not, we want your feedback so that we can further improve relations between law enforcement and our participants.

Please fill out our online Law Enforcement Feedback form as soon as possible after your interaction, so you can record all the details while they’re still fresh in your mind. You may also download a PDF of the form and return it to us during the Black Rock City event at Ranger HQ or a Ranger Outpost. Thank you for your help!

Please note: Black Rock Rangers are participants serving as non-confrontational community mediators. They are not law enforcement officers.

Private Security in Black Rock City

As volunteers, Black Rock Rangers do not typically engage in physical confrontations with participants. Instead, Rangers rely on tools like education, negotiation, and an appeal to the 10 Principles to resolve conflict. Each year, there are a few situations involving participants behaving aggressively that are beyond the scope of Ranger responsibilities before law enforcement is on scene, or might benefit from proactively deploying a team that can act if a situation escalates.

Burning Man Project contracts with High Rock Security to provide support and assistance to Black Rock Rangers in these circumstances. We believe that having this option for a small number of unique cases will benefit Rangers, participants, and law enforcement.

The High Rock Security team will respond to incidents when dispatched by Ranger leadership. Like Rangers, they will escalate any serious issues immediately to law enforcement as needed. They will be wearing black “High Rock Security” shirts, clearly distinguishable from Rangers and law enforcement.

You may know High Rock Security from their work at a number of official Burning Man events (like San Francisco Decompression and the Artumnal Gathering) and events adjacent to Burning Man (e.g., Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis). They work alongside Rangers at some of these gatherings and approach security in a manner inspired by Black Rock Rangers, preferring de-escalation techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is this the “third-party private security” that BLM discusses as a potential mitigation in their 2019 Environmental Impact Statement?

No. This is completely unrelated to BLM’s Environmental Impact Statement or to any requirements from BLM. Our collaboration with High Rock Security is not the security force proposed by BLM to search vehicles and participants at the Gate. High Rock Security will not be searching vehicles at the Gate.

Why is this happening?

Black Rock City staff have dealt with a small number of issues over the years where individuals displayed physically aggressive behavior, demonstrated the potential to harm themselves or others, or otherwise continued to behave badly when asked by Rangers or other Burning Man staff to stop. While we rely on law enforcement for support when things get out of hand, there are cases where it would be helpful to have a team under our management that can monitor a situation before it rises to law enforcement action or while we are waiting for law enforcement, so as to ensure safety if things escalate before law enforcement arrives.

What is High Rock Security’s intended role at the event?

To assist our Black Rock Rangers and Black Rock City staff in situations that might need a higher level of de-escalation or intervention that volunteer Rangers are not prepared to provide, but don’t rise to the level of requiring law enforcement involvement.

Does this mean more or less law enforcement at the event?

Neither. High Rock Security does not remove the need for law enforcement in Black Rock City. They are here to serve BRC needs and to support our volunteer Black Rock Rangers.

Will High Rock staff be armed? Will they carry guns? Tasers? Batons? Pepper spray?

High Rock staff will not be armed with any weapons while in Black Rock City.

What will they be wearing? How will we know who they are?

They will be wearing black “High Rock Security” shirts, clearly distinguishable from Rangers and law enforcement. Due to the very small size of the team and the specific nature of their work, the vast majority of participants will not interact with, or even notice, the High Rock team in Black Rock City.

What is High Rock Security’s history?

High Rock Security was founded in 2002 by members of Burning Man’s Black Rock Rangers and Gate teams to provide a non-aggressive style of security to events. Their clients include San Francisco Decompression, Burning Man regional events, Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis, and Joshua Tree Music Festival. Much of High Rock Security’s staff consists of people who have been Burning Man Project staff and volunteers, previously involved with Black Rock Rangers, Gate, DPW, Cafe, and other departments.

How will High Rock Security interact with Black Rock Rangers?

High Rock staff will work alongside Rangers and under the direction of Ranger management. High Rock staff will be dispatched by the Black Rock Rangers as an additional resource when appropriate.

Will High Rock Security patrol BRC?

You may see High Rock staff moving about in Black Rock City. While their primary mission is to respond as needed when called upon by Black Rock Rangers to assist, they are available to help participants and can contact Rangers as appropriate. 

How many of them will there be?

There will typically be between one and four pairs of agents on duty at a time.

If you can use private security in Black Rock City, why have BLM or Pershing County law enforcement patrolling the event? Why not do what EDC, Coachella and Bonnaroo do—use private security and call in law enforcement only when needed?

Law enforcement provides important services in Black Rock City that cannot be replaced by private security. Additionally, Black Rock City is on public lands and our permit requires a law enforcement presence.

Burning Man Information Radio

Burning Man Information Radio (94.5 FM) is your nexus for essential information on the playa. Check BMIR for late-breaking event announcements and a melange of music. In the event of an on-site emergency, tune into BMIR for rumor-free updates and advisories to surf the storm to a sane conclusion.

BMIR’s daily programming reflects the needs of the community pragmatic, philosophical, and participatory.

Vital Community Announcements

Help avoid porta-potty meltdown and other cataclysmic catastrophes by checking in daily.

Diverse Perspectives

Listen to artists, organizers, and citizens of Black Rock City as they discuss what inspires them to their extremes of participation.

Event Announcements

Come down to BMIR (Center Camp between Ranger HQ and Earth Guardians) from 12-5pm each day to record event and camp announcements. Or relate your encounters with radical acts of gifting on-air to the city at large.

Weather Updates

When you need to know whether the weather will white-out your fluorescent green Mirabou boa, tune us in. 94.5 BMIR: It’s not just a radio station; it’s a radio station wired to connect YOU — a bunch of radical, celebratory self-expressionists living in the middle of the desert for seven days, creating the single greatest event known to humankind.

BMIR welcomes your participation. Please send comments and suggestions to We are thrilled to receive PSAs or interviews from the community at large.

How to Listen to BMIR on your Computer or Smartphone

*Please note – BMIR can be streamed live from approximately Thursday pre-event through Tuesday post event.

On a PC or Mac, you can just go to our website, and the built in Flowplayer should launch by itself (you can also just pause that and click on the “Listen Now” link, which should launch BMIR in your media player of choice).

BMIR also has its very own iPhone app and Android player, so you can listen to BMIR while you drive to the playa (provided you have cell coverage).

BMIR is also available commercial free on iHeart Radio (all platforms) by special arrangement with our friends at iHeart Media. You can listen from a PC or Mac by going to their website and searching for BMIR or Burning Man. Their app is available for all mobile platforms. Please note that iHeart Radio is not available outside the US, so if you are overseas and listening, listen directly from the BMIR webpage or use BMIR’s own Android or iPhone app.

Please also note that the iHeart stream is at a lower bitrate than the BMIR webpage, Android and iPhone apps, so it’s easier on your data usage if you are listening on a mobile device.

We can also be found on the TuneIn Radio app and web page as well as the Streema web page.

Check out the BMIR Facebook page for updates or more info.

Thanks for listening!

Recycle Camp

Recycling is very important to Black Rock City (and every city, really). Naturally, there is a theme camp dedicated to this key component of modern waste reduction.

Recycle Camp – Our Mission

  • Collect, Crush and Recycle as many aluminum cans as possible in a week.
  • Encourage the use of aluminum on the playa.
  • Encourage reusable water/beverage containers vs. the single serving plastic bottle.
  • Practice and Promote the 7 Principles of ‘Leave No Trace’.
  • Teach the seething masses the 6 Noble Tenets of Waste Reduction:
  1. The 6 R’s: Respect – Rethink – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – Restore
  2. Prepare, leave sorry-ass packaging at home
  3. Sort your recyclables and trash before you discard them!
  4. Never let it hit the ground
  5. Pack It In, Pack It Out
  6. Create! Supposed “garbage” can be transformed into beautiful works of art!

Recycle Camp is located in Center Camp. During the event, we collect as many aluminum cans as possible. Recycle Camp is run completely by volunteers who live to spread the Recycle Camp mantra to all participants, “Show us your Cans!” Volunteers meander through the city every day riding one of our new, improved and patented tandem bicycle powered Recycle-Trucks. The trucks make it possible to collect 10 times as many cans in each trip as the old shopping cart version. We encourage everyone to come by and help with the efforts. We need people to take them out during the event, spreading the word about Recycle Camp and collecting cans. Join us in recruiting new help throughout the day. Crush some cans. Relax, have a cold beverage and enjoy the camp.

Recycle Camp encourages you to help us collect aluminum cans using your own bike and your own basket. If you wish to help while driving your crazy art car, remember to register with the DMV. All participants may bring their aluminum cans to Recycle Camp, Monday through Sunday 9am to 5pm. While there, you will help us crush your cans and join us in creating recycled art or relax and have a beverage and learn about recycling and sustainability.

Recycle Camp does not collect aluminum foil, glass, plastic, tin, paper, cardboard or any garbage. In fact, we discourage bringing plastic and glass to the playa altogether and we get really mad when people leave us their garbage. Accomplishing our recycling goals depends on reducing the waste stream at the source — this starts with you!!! So please, follow these simple steps, reduce what you bring, separate your aluminum cans and bring them to recycle Camp!!! While you’re at it go ahead and separate out all your recyclables from your garbage that you’re packing out. Each should be dealt with separately.

Recycle Camp wants your cans! Show us your cans! Bring them to us! Ride the “Blue/Duck”, Recycle Camp’s State-Of-The-Art bicycle powered can crushing machine.

Some interesting facts about aluminum and aluminum recycling.

Aluminum is an incredibly energy-rich material. Usually its ore is derived from bauxite, though it can be derived from other sources but at a higher price. We have heard that even the playa could be mined for aluminum — fortunately for us, this would not be cost-effective.

  • Discovered in the 1820s, aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth.
  • In 1954, Olympia, Washington is the first place to offer a deposit on aluminum cans.
  • The U.S. Aluminum Industry begins recycling in 1968, the same year was born.
  • In 1972, 24,000 metric tons of aluminum used beverage containers (UBCs) were recycled. In 1998, the amount increased to over 879,000 metric tons.
  • In 1972, it took about 22 empty, aluminum cans to weigh one pound. Due to advanced technology to use less material and increase durability of aluminum cans, since 2002 it takes about 32 empty aluminum cans to weigh one pound.
  • Nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today.
  • Nearly 60% of the aluminum cans produced are recycled.
  • Every new aluminum can contains more than 50% post consumer recycled aluminum.
  • Every minute of every day, an average of 120,000 aluminum cans are recycled.
  • A used aluminum can will be recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
  • It takes 90% less energy to manufacture an aluminum can from recycled aluminum.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on an iPhone.
  • In 2005, 54 billion cans were recycled saving energy equivalent to 15 million barrels of crude oil – America’s entire gas consumption for one day.
  • Tossing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline.
  • Even though aluminum is the most valuable recyclable material, aluminum cans still make it to the landfill. Americans throw away nearly $1 billion worth of aluminum cans each year.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

One reason aluminum is so widely recycled is that the energy required to recycle it is only a tiny fraction of the energy required to obtain it from ore. Every time you recycle 30 aluminum cans, you have saved the equivalent energy of a gallon of gasoline. In 2019 we collected over 300,000 cans. That’s the equivalent of over 10,000 gallons of gasoline. The market value of those cans was only around $3,000.00, but that is a lot to the Gerlach School.

Recycle Camp History

Recycle Camp was born out of a red-hot desire to curb the large clean-up effort on the playa. During their first visit to Black Rock City in 1995, two participants, Simon and Diane, were hanging around during clean up and asked the inevitable question, “Why isn’t there any recycling around here?”

An old-timer just looked at them and smiled as he said, “If you want to see recycling here, then why don’t you volunteer to do it yourself?” They set out that very day to pull aluminum cans out of a pile. By the end of the day they had made a serious dent in the pile, and felt they had actually made a dent in what participants had left behind. There was no Org.

Two years later, Simon aka Cap’n Crush and Diane aka Agent Orange, came equipped with one shopping cart vehicle. They managed to collect a few hundred cans the night of the opera and the burn, and later during clean up met Harley Bierman-Dubois, Burning Man’s Human Resources Amazon. Harley was beginning to build the Community Services Department, she knew this would be a good addition. Recycle Camp was born in November 1997, and in Black Rock City 1998, became an official Burning Man Theme Camp. Their methods were crude yet effective and they collected some 20,000 cans that year. 

Recycle Camp joined forces with the Earth Guardians in 1999 to further the efforts of educating Black Rock citizens to Leave No Trace. Over 75,000 cans were collected. The cans were delivered to the Gerlach School Principal and the money generated went to the Gerlach School.

Recycle Camp was back in full force in 2000 and set an amazing goal to reach 200,000 cans. We actually collected over 100,000 cans that year, our best effort yet.

In 2001, with seven new and returning Volunteers, we collected over 100,000 cans and helped to fund student activities at the Gerlach School once again.

In 2002, Recycle Camp came under new management. Mr. Blue, a first time volunteer in 2001, took the lead role. With the guidance of Cap’n Crush and the help of a record number of Recyclonauts, 100,000+ cans were collected, crushed, bagged and delivered to Gerlach to be recycled.

In 2003, Recycle Camp took on a new look. The tents were replaced with geodesic domes, one for the kitchen and another for a chill space. We took responsibility for our own shade structure/work space and built an amazing A-Frame structure that was a welcome addition to Center Camp. We had a fantastic group of core Recyclonauts and managed to deliver another 100,000+ cans to Gerlach.

From 2004 to today Recycle Camp continues to be a sustainability leader in Black Rock City, energized by the same participant/volunteer driven hard work that has proven year after year to be able to wrangle a field of burlap bags, to a sea of super sacks, to a dumpster full, make that 4, of aluminum cans from the citizens and get them recycled. Since the beginning, Recycle Camp has collected, crushed and recycled over 3 million cans. We’re going to hit 4 million soon, you can bet on that. What? It’s OK, we’re in Nevada.

Questions or comments? Or if you would like to volunteer, email us at



For your convenience and sheer relief, there are a plethora of porta-potties distributed throughout Black Rock City. They can be found on radial streets, off the 2:00 and 10:00 arms, and out in the open playa. They’re emptied round-the-clock by a fleet of trucks who make a continuous 24/7 circuit once the city fills up. Please be considerate of other BRC residents and their porta-potty needs by keeping the lid down, and not dumping garbage in the potties. The rule of thumb is “if it didn’t come out of your body, it doesn’t go in the potty!” And that includes baby wipes!

If you have specific questions regarding porta-potties, please contact

Sanitation for RVs

You are welcome to bring a recreational vehicle. Be aware, however, that there is no dumping station on-site, and you will not be allowed to dump on the playa – the BLM does issue citations for the dumping of gray or black water. RV servicing will be available for a fee.

There is no location for scheduling RV servicing appointments. We’ve tried to have a sign-up booth at Playa Info in the past and it was horribly inefficient and wasted a lot of people’s time.

Just flag ’em down!

The trucks that service RV’s make their rounds between 9am and 9pm, and they have an amber flashing light on the top and a big “RV ONLY” sign on the side. The trucks patrol their “zones” in the city all day, and you can flag them down for service as they roam their quadrants, or stop them while they’re in the broader neighborhood and request a local visit. In case of dire emergency/missed opportunity, you can also pedal out to Fire & Services, where you will find a Help Desk and make an appointment (out past the outer road and 6:30).

Make sure that there is someone at your camp to show the driver where to pump AND to pay for the servicing. Keep in mind that the sanitation vendor only accepts cash so plan accordingly. Also, if they can’t get to your rig they’re not going to be able to service it. Leave a space for the service truck to get to your RV; pump hoses cannot reach beyond 30 feet.


With the extremely hot temperatures on the playa during the day, it’s no wonder the majority of activity takes place after dark.

Each evening, as darkness approaches, you will spy a solemn group of white-robed individuals with poles slung over their shoulders, wending their way through the city to provide us with illumination.

The Lamplighters have been a familiar sight in Black Rock City since 1993. They light and place kerosene lanterns atop the wooden spires that line the most heavily trafficked areas of town. The lanterns burn through the night, and light up Black Rock City in a silent and beautiful fashion, without draining the power grid.

For more information on volunteering for the Lamplighters, click here.

Emergency Services Department

Black Rock City’s Emergency Services Department (ESD) is available before the event officially starts, and is on duty until the last participant leaves. ESD provides fire protection, medical evaluation and treatment, mental health services, an Emergency 911 Dispatch facility, and the communications infrastructure for Black Rock City.

The ESD is a separate department from the Black Rock Rangers, who are Burning Man’s non-confrontational mediating entities.

In Black Rock City you can find ESD stations on 3:00 and 9:00 at the intersection just beyond the plazas, and at Center Camp at 6:00.

For more information, please email 911(at)burningman(dot)com.

Department of Public Works (DPW)

Black Rock City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is the workforce that plans, surveys, builds, and deconstructs the foundational infrastructure of our temporary city in the Black Rock Desert. Since 1998 the DPW has worked side by side with all of the departments within the Burning Man Project to institute the City Plan and bring Black Rock City into existence.

A few DPW operations include but are not limited to:

  • Black Rock City Survey
  • Trash Fence Installation
  • Arctica, Artery, Center Camp, and First Camp Construction
  • The BRC Power Grid
  • Staff Support Services
  • Fuel Services
  • Heavy Equipment and Transportation
  • Construction of The Man and The Man Pavilion
  • Roads, City Signs, Spires!
  • So much Infrastructure Shade 
  • The BRC Yellow Bike Project
  • Playa Restoration, Burn Gardens and Highway Cleanup

For a more comprehensive list check out DPW CREWS.

After the event, DPW strikes the set, packs away the city’s bones, and continues to work hard long after everyone else has gone home to ensure that Black Rock City will truly Leave No Trace.

If all this sounds exciting to you and you’d like to be involved, please click here to apply. If you want to know more about the DPW’s staffing needs, and our operation in general, please join us at our Volunteer/Participation Page.

Dept. of Mutant Vehicles

DMV Night Registration (Photo by Mark Brems)

The mission of the Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles is to enable Burning Man participants to share their Mutant Vehicle creations with the community of Black Rock City, and to license vehicles for use by disabled participants.

The Department of Mutant Vehicles (DMV) must balance the desire to have vehicles at the event with the community standards of keeping Burning Man a foot- and bike-friendly event, maintaining a level of safety, and adhering to the stipulations of our land use permit. Because of these limiting factors, not all vehicles that apply can be licensed. While this is not an easy job, the DMV believes having Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man is an important part of the experience and work hard to make it possible for them to be out there.

Simply put, the DMV is there to make it possible for the Mutant Vehicles to be at Burning Man. if there were no DMV, there would be no mobile art in Black Rock City. The DMV staff work throughout the year to process the Mutant Vehicles and disabled vehicle registrations, and then run on-playa operations to license vehicles during the event. The DMV staff also work to build and maintain the support infrastructure for their operations.

Learn More About Mutant Vehicles

If you are interested in bringing a Mutant Vehicle to Black Rock City, see the Mutant Vehicle Licensing and Criteria.

If you have a disability and need a vehicle to get around Black Rock City, see the Vehicles for People with Disabilities page.

If you’re interested in volunteering to be a DMV Hottie, visit our volunteer page for more information. And if you have any questions, please email

For information on other types of vehicles on the playa, see the Getting Around section.

Black Rock City Guide

Burning Man takes place in Black Rock City, a full-fledged, thriving temporary metropolis. Like any other city, it has essential infrastructure and community services — including city planning, emergency, safety and sanitary infrastructure — to keep it functioning.

These are primarily volunteer-created and run services, and provide just enough structure to support the survival of this civic organism — the rest is up to YOU.

Public Infrastructure

Welcome Home (Photo by Hank EspressoBuzz)


…If you need info or want to leave a message you might wander over to Playa Information, in Center Camp Plaza. While you’re there you could meet up with friends and catch a performance at Center Camp, or buy ice at Arctica. If you get lost on the way back to your camp, and can’t recall the name of the street you live on, you might run into a Ranger who can give you the shortcut for remembering street names. If you fall off your bike and get hurt on your way back to your camp, you’ll find professional volunteers of the Emergency Services Department ready to care for you. As the sun sets, you’ll notice the Lamplighters appearing to illuminate the city. Need to go potty? Learn how from Sanitation. (Remember, though, there is NO garbage pickup at Burning Man.)

When you’ve finally had a chance to take it all in, you can thank the Department of Public Works (DPW) and Nevada Operations (NVO)! These two departments together prepare and repair the essential infrastructure of BRC and then converge in a feat of logistics and heart to build our beloved city each summer.

Trash and Recycling

Except for tire tracks and footprints, our policy is to leave the desert as the profoundly barren and empty corner of the world that it is. All Black Rock City citizens are expected to participate in our clean-up effort.

There are no trash cans at Burning Man. All participants are required to remove their trash and  from the playa.  Moreover, Leave No Trace should extend beyond the playa, all the way to your home.

And most importantly: “If it wasn’t in your body, don’t put it in the potty.”

Recycling On Playa

Recycling is cheap, easy, and the benefits are immeasurable. We encourage everyone to separate and recycle their garbage as much as possible, and to dispose of the trash and recyclable material appropriately.

You can drop off aluminum cans at Recycle Camp located on the Center Camp circle, or look out for one of their funky collection mobiles (shopping carts towed by bikes) wending their way throughout the city.

Recycling and Garbage Disposal After the Event

Do NOT discard refuse along the highway or in neighboring towns. Not only is littering irresponsible and costly in terms of energy, time, and money for others, it is also illegal and reflects very badly on Burning Man. If you have to carry garbage on top of your vehicle, make sure it is double-bagged and strapped down securely.

Many communities along the routes from Black Rock City have Recycling centers and trash disposal locations, and many of those are open 24 hours a day.  You can find a list of them in the Leave Nevada Beautiful section of the Survival Guide.