“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.

2023 Drone Information:

The drone application for 2023 is available here. The form will be open from May 19-June 19. Please familiarize yourself with 2023 drone policies here.

PLEASE NOTE: In order to fly a drone in Black Rock City, you must also have a pre-approved Media Project Proposal, and register with Media Mecca on playa. If you haven’t already submitted a Media Project Proposal, you MUST do so by July 20, 2023 at 12pm (noon) Pacific time. Here is the link to submit a proposal. The Communications team will review your proposal and get back to you as soon as possible.

Sound Systems

Sound Policy

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, but it is also dedicated to creating community. This means we all must find a way to get along with our neighbors. Our past history has led us to this point where we MUST give guidelines on amplification and limit space for this sort of art.

The following four rules make up our basic sound policy:

  1. Neighbors should talk to one another when sound becomes problem and try to resolve the issue through direct communication.
  2. Large-scale sound installations MUST be located along the ends of our city. They may express themselves unless community complaints persist.
  3. Within the city, a maximum power amplification of 300 watts is permitted, producing sound amplification not to exceed 90 decibels, when measured at 20 feet from the source.
  4. Any complaints about excessive sound will become the concern of the Black Rock Rangers. Concerns about excessive sound can result in:
    a) volume check and mediation between camps,
    b) volume check and a final warning on complaints,
    c) the disabling of equipment.

Loud vs. Quiet

Again this year we will have no “loud” and “quiet” sides of the city. These are relative terms, and they set up 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 Art

All large-scale sound systems will be located in the Large-Scale Sound Art Zone. 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. The deadline for large-sound art installations is first-come, first-served, so when these spots are filled, no more sound systems will be permitted within Black Rock City.

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 station or directly to a Black Rock Ranger. (Please do not mistake a BLM Ranger for our own). Black Rock Ranger Stations are located at both Outposts and in Center Camp. A complaint should contain:

  • The exact SOURCE of the sound. (Vague reports will result in no action or ineffective action.)
  • 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. We will not take action on issues of taste.

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. 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 that 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 monitor sound. Please pass this information around to other participants in your theme camp or village and to those that are not planning on being listed on the map. A community effort is need to pull this off.

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 bmir@burningman.org. 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 mr.blue 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 recycle@burningman.org.



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@burningman.org.

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. Keeping that in mind, feel free to stop by Playa Info between the hours of 11am and 1pm for more information.

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 basic 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.

Our mandate includes:

  • Black Rock City survey
  • Fence installation
  • Arctica construction
  • Artery Everywhere construction
  • Center Camp construction
  • DPW Ghetto construction
  • The Black Rock City power grid
  • First Camp construction
  • The Black Rock City Fluffer Program
  • Fuel services
  • Heavy equipment and transportation
  • Construction of The Man and The Man Pavilion
  • Roads and dust abatement
  • Sign production and installation
  • More than 200 shade structures
  • Spires construction and installation
  • Potable and nonpotable water services
  • The BRC Yellow Bike Project
  • Playa restoration and highway cleanup

After the event, DPW strikes the set, packs away the city’s bones, and makes sure that Black Rock City will truly Leave No Trace.

If all this sounds good to you, and you’d like to be involved, please click here to apply. If you want to know more about the DPW’s volunteer needs, and our operation in general, please visit our volunteer 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 dmv@burningman.org.

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)


Black Rock City’s public infrastructure is a collaboration between volunteers and staff. Your portal to the City is the Gate, after which you’ll be sent along the road (drive 5 mph, please). Along Gate Road, you may encounter Census volunteers collecting demographic information. Their form is short and the process will only take a few minutes. (Whether or not you see them on Gate Road, you can participate in the Census project starting Tuesday after Burning Man.) Further along Gate Road, you will arrive at the Greeters station. There you’ll be met by fellow citizens who will give you a map and other essential information. You’ll find your camp and settle in.

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) for working four months a year in the desert to build the city.

And you wondered why it takes a year round staff and over 1200 volunteers to make this event happen? Now you’ll know!

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.


Gate (Community Access)

Like the cities of old, Black Rock City is secured by a perimeter fence, and participants enter through a gate. You must have a ticket to enter Black Rock City. The Gate opens in early August for pre-event traffic (only people with early entry passes are allowed in prior to the first day of the event), then opens for all participants at 12:01 am on the Sunday prior to the Man Burn, and is open 24 hours a day throughout the event.

What To Expect At The Gate

Here’s a summary of the process:

  1. On your way to Burning Man, please drive safely and be considerate while passing through local towns. Speeding, parking on highway shoulders, and unsafe driving are safety hazards and could threaten the future of the event. We are guests in their community, so be extra courteous and obey the law.
  2. Plan your arrival so that you show up at the Gate after opening. We cannot allow people who show up early to wait in town (see #1 above).
  3. During peak traffic periods we will be controlling traffic with highway flaggers along Hwy 447 before the Gerlach gas station. Past experience has shown that long lines at the gas station have caused unsafe conditions. Watch for signs and flaggers on the road; they are fellow Burning Man volunteers helping to make your arrival safer! Please fill up in Fernley/Wadsworth (or other areas) and help reduce the traffic backup in Gerlach.
  4. As you approach the Burning Man entrance from the highway, tune your radio to 95.1 FM for Gate Advisory Radio Station! We will be broadcasting up to date info about the entry process. Not sure why there is a backup or how to get to will call? Tune in!
  5. Drive no more than 5-10mph on Gate Road! We have volunteers working out there and the dust can make it hard for you to see them. Speeding also causes ruts in the road, and that’s a bummer for your suspension.
  6. We place signs along your approach to the Gate. They have helpful information, please read them.
  7. Stay in your vehicle. We cannot emphasize that enough. Don’t wander along the road looking for will call or exploring the desert. If you need to go to will call, your entire vehicle should go with you. Don’t risk losing your friends.
  8. About 1/4 mile before you reach the Gate you will come to a set of small kiosks we call the “Apex”. During busy times there will be Gate staff here to direct you. There is an empty zone just after the Apex that will allow vehicles in any lane to turn into the Will Call lot.
  9. Upon reaching the Gate your tickets will be torn and your car searched. Plan ahead for the search and know what items are prohibited.
  10. After completing the Gate process we will send you down the road to the Greeters, who will give you a map, answer your questions, and give you a hug if you’re lucky.

In-and-Out Passes

In-and-out passes are available at the gate (per person). You must have your pass, and your ticket stub, to return to the event.

What happens if you show up at the Gate with no ticket?

There will be no tickets sold at the event. In light of that, it’s more important than ever that our community knows and understands Burning Man’s Gate policy. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There are no tickets for sale at the Gate. You will be turned away and not allowed entry if you show up without a ticket.
  • If you are giving someone a ride to Burning Man, including ride shares and hitchhikers, please be sure they have a ticket or you may end up driving back to Reno to drop them off. Leaving them at the Gate or in Gerlach is not an option. Washoe County Sheriff will be watching out for people loitering in or around Gerlach.
  • Harboring stowaways or assisting people sneaking in is as bad as sneaking in yourself. Any vehicle with stowaways or assisting people sneaking in will have the whole vehicle refused entry with no refund of tickets.
  • Anyone caught trying to sneak in to the event or causing a disruption at the Gate or Box Office is subject to citation, fine, and arrest by the BLM.

Finally, we expect long lines coming into the event and going out during Exodus, so arriving or leaving at non-peak times — and exercising patience — is advised.

Volunteer For The Gate

To find out more about volunteering for the gate, click here.