Do’s and Don’ts
Rules & Regulations
Do's & Don'ts
Porta-Potties: If It Wasn’t Made By Your Body, Don’t Put It In The Potty
Portable toilets are provided and emptied regularly. Use these facilities only for their intended purpose, not for dumping garbage or grey water. Putting anything but human waste and one-ply toilet paper (2-ply is a BIG no-no) into the portable toilets makes pumping nearly impossible and threatens the survival of the event. NO TAMPONS, TRASH OR WIPES in the portable toilets. Put the lid down when you’re done—it helps keep odors under control. Do not dump grey water in the potties: doing so will fill them up much faster than normal and result in disgusting toilets for everyone. For tips on dealing with grey water, see the Preparation section of the Burning Man website. Do not defecate on the playa; it is illegal and an unpleasant mess for everyone, especially for those who restore the playa after the event. Finally, if there is a truck servicing a bank of potties, make sure you aren’t interfering with their job by using one of the potties—wait until they are finished. Our vendors work really hard so we can all enjoy Burning Man!
Trash In Neighboring Communities
We have very good relationships with the neighboring towns and communities, and we need to keep it that way. Every year the biggest complaint about Burning Man is the trash that flies off of vehicles in surrounding areas. Make sure you cover and secure your load to your car REALLY WELL so nothing flies off as you drive the highways, and DO NOT dump your trash or recycling ANYWHERE in our neighboring communities except in a designated dumping area. We’ve compiled a list of them here. Leave No Trace doesn’t end when you hit the pavement. If you see somebody dumping their waste somewhere they shouldn’t, let them know where they SHOULD be dumping it. You can be fined up to $1000 for illegal dumping.
Driving Safety On Playa
With so many people at our event, uninhibited driving would be a huge safety hazard. Except for public agencies, specially marked Black Rock City department service vehicles, and vehicles licensed by the Department of Mutant Vehicles, NO cars, motorcycles, motor-scooters, ATVs, golf carts, or go-carts are allowed to drive in our city or on the open playa around it. Unless you’re licensed to drive on playa be prepared to drive your vehicle to your campsite and leave it parked there for the duration of your stay at the event. The speed limit is 5 MPH at all times, anywhere in the city. Only board or disembark Mutant Vehicles when they are stopped.
Burn Scar Prevention
Burning Man’s ability to return to the Black Rock Desert year after year is directly dependent upon our ability to Leave No Trace – which includes burn scars. Volunteers have spent thousands of hours cleaning up burn scars from past Burning Man events, and continue to do so. It is your responsibility as a citizen to ensure no burn scars are left on the playa: NEVER start a fire directly on the playa surface. Not only will it create a burn scar, the BLM will issue citations for it. A fireplace, burn barrel or barbecue (in permitted areas only) may be used for small fires. Burn Barrels must be elevated 10"off the playa.
Fire Art & Fuel Storage Safety
We love fire at Burning Man, and we must burn safely. Whether you are planning to have a fire barrel, burn your artwork, or incorporate flame effects into your artwork or Mutant Vehicle, you must follow our Fire Art Safety Guidelines, found here. All participants using combustible fuels in an art installation or storing fuel in camp must comply with best practices for storing and handling these materials, described here. Questions about fuel storage should be directed to: fuelsafety@ burningman.com.
Noise Control & Sound Policy
Sound travels on the playa and not everyone will want to sleep when you do; this is the way it goes. The only reliable way to get a quiet, uninterrupted night’s sleep is to bring ear plugs. If you use an amplified audio system at your camp the volume must be held to reasonable levels: a maximum power amplification of 300 watts, generating 90 decibels at 20 feet. Speakers must be elevated off the playa surface and be backed by a truck, RV or anything large and solid enough to prevent the sound from traveling backwards. If a problem with sound levels continues after sufficient requests and warnings, the source of power for such device or system will be disabled. Mutant Vehicles are subject to the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy, and must cut their sound when approaching art installations and performances.
The hum of generators becomes annoying over a long period of time. Please keep your neighbors in mind. We recommend generators that are sound insulated, and/or enclosed in a wooden box. DO NOT dig a trench to sound-insulate your generator. Visit the Generators article on the website for more detailed information.
Rental Trucks & Corporate Logos
Corporate advertising is not allowed at Burning Man. Participants with rental trucks and RVs are strongly encouraged to cover or decorate prominent logos. The display or distribution of corporate banners, corporate logos, giveaway items, samples, and other promotional paraphernalia is strictly prohibited, as are product photo shoots and other commercial product placement.
Our numbers have grown and, with that, the potential for strain on the surrounding environment has increased. During Burning Man, BLM stipulations forbid participants from using the local hot springs, some of which are lethally hot. A special environmental team of Earth Guardians working with the BLM will be assigned to patrol and protect these fragile resources. Email earthguardiansburningmancom for more information.
The burning of public structures, such as lampposts or bulletin boards, is prohibited. Likewise, the burning of other people’s artwork is forbidden. Individual artists have the sole right to burn their own creation, subject to burn guidelines.
As Black Rock City is an actual city, gifting food or fresh juices to the public, or running a kitchen serving 125 persons or more (whether public or private) requires a permit from the Nevada State Health Division. Visit health.nv.gov/BFHS_EHS.htm, and see “Temporary Food Information for Burning Man.” You don’t need a permit for bar ice, but your ice must come from a source approved by the Health Division, like local stores or our ice sales. If you have questions on playa, representatives from the Nevada State Health Division will be available at Playa Info during limited hours – ask at Playa Info for their schedule.
Be Respectful Of Our Neighbors
With more than 60,000 people traveling through these normally quiet towns we have a significant impact on the communities surrounding Burning Man. Continuing our positive relationship with our neighbors ensures the future of the Burning Man event. DRIVE SLOWLY. Life moves at a slower pace in Black Rock country. Local merchants may be unaccustomed to crowds of customers and it’s important to remember that you are an ambassador of Burning Man. Be courteous and patient, dress appropriately and do not impart a party atmosphere. We are guests here. Be courteous and friendly to all local residents and be sure to Leave No Trace.
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
On your way to Burning Man on Hwy 447 you will drive through the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal reservation. Drive slowly—speed limits are strictly enforced. Please be respectful, not only is Pyramid Lake home to two types of endangered fish, but the lake is also considered to be sacred. You must obtain a permit to swim in or camp around Pyramid Lake. Day use permits are only $6 and camping permits are $9 per day. The I-80 Smoke Shop in Wadsworth is the most convenient location for northbound Burners to purchase a permit. Permits are available in other Nevada towns including Reno, Sparks, Fernley, Nixon, and Sutcliffe. Please read Travel Info in the Preparation section of the Burning Man website for specific locations. For more information about the Paiute tribe and their land, please visit www.plpt.nsn.us. There are limited services for the 76 miles between Wadsworth and Empire. This means no reliable access to gas and no water.
Members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe offer services to our participants along the way, such as car washes, Indian tacos, food drives and trash collection. All vendors are required to register with the tribal government. There are also two stores with gas stations on tribal lands. In past years these stores and gas stations have been open 24 hours during the opening and closing days of the event. Please do support the Pyramid Lake community. To learn more about the area and the Paiute tribe, visit the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitor’s Center, located at 709 State Street in Nixon, to learn more about the area and the Paiute tribe.
Gerlach & Empire
The citizens of Gerlach and Empire (the nearest towns to BRC) welcome us; please be considerate of them in return. Drive slowly and don’t block driveways or streets if you need to park. Should you need last minute supplies these two towns have a gas station, a market, and several street vendors. Be aware that pulling over to patronize these businesses can cause major traffic issues and you are encouraged to plan ahead and fill your tank and do all of your shopping before you get to Gerlach. DO NOT replenish your water supply from a private local spigot. Water is precious in the desert, and this water belongs to local residents. And don’t forget: Leave No Trace!