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CREATING DANGEROUS ART SAFELY

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Fire is truly at the heart of the Burning Man event, and we encourage and support all types of safe fire art and pyrotechnic displays. The following information and guidelines are designed to promote the safe use of Open Fire, Flame Effects and Pyrotechnics in your artwork, performance, theme camp or Mutant Vehicle at Burning Man, and we encourage you to use these safety rules as a guide. Please read this page in its entirety, making sure to focus on the areas that apply to your work.

Thank you for wanting to burn safely at Burning Man!

FIRE ART SAFETY TEAM (FAST)

The mission of the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) is to provide experienced support for artists both pre-event and on-site, and to ensure the safe use of fire and pyrotechnics at the Burning Man event.

This team, which includes artists, fire safety personnel and industry professionals, will assist you in the safe execution of Open Fire, Flame Effects, and/or Pyrotechnics in your art installation, theme camp or Mutant Vehicle. You should take advantage of their cumulative knowledge in the planning for your project.

FIRE PERMITS

Burning Man has a series of agreements established with the federal government, in the form of event stipulations. These stipulations state that for public safety reasons artwork utilizing Open Fire, Flame Effects and/or Pyrotechnics requires approval in the form of a laminate (license). FAST will inspect artworks, camps and vehicles incorporating fire, and issue the appropriate laminate once it has been approved for safe operation. The multiple-step approval process is not intended to bog down the artist, but rather to ensure that all safety regulations have been adhered to.

FLAME CLASSIFICATIONS

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

  • OPEN FIRE is defined as non-pressurized flame, including setting fire to an art installation, large burn barrels, braziers, torches, large assemblies of candles and other simple uses of fire. Read our guidelines for Open Fire.
  • FLAME EFFECT is defined as “The combustion of solids, liquids, or gases to produce thermal, physical, visual, or audible phenomena before an audience”. This includes all flames that are automated, switched, pressurized or having any other action than simply being lit on fire; as well as projects using propane or other liquid or gaseous fuels (Note: liquid fuel effects are not allowed in theme camps or on Mutant Vehicles). Read our Flame Effects Guidelines.
  • PYROTECHNICS refers to the art, craft and science of fireworks, which includes any explosives or projectiles. All pyrotechnic special effects material used in any art installation or performance must consist of consumer [1.4G Class C, UN0336] FIREWORKS or less. Read all about the use ofPyrotechnics at Burning Man.

FIRE IN THEME CAMPS

The use of Flame Effects and burn barrels is allowed within theme camps, but have their own specific challenges and issues. A small burn barrel or Flame Effect at the entrance to your camp can be just the thing to help guide you and your campmates back late at night, but the reality of a tent fire or a more serious situation arising from its misuse is a threat to participant safety and the future of our event.

Each camp should designate someone who is responsible, not under the effects of drugs or alcohol, and present at all times to monitor fires and/or Flame Effects and be prepared to extinguish the fire if wind conditions kick up. At least five gallons of water must be kept close at hand and visible at the site of any fire.

For further information, we've compiled detailed information regarding the use of Fire in Theme Camps.

FLAME EFFECTS ON MUTANT VEHICLES

All Mutant Vehicles must be registered and approved by Burning Man’s Department of Mutant Vehicles. Flame Effects are allowed on Mutant Vehicles although the use of liquid-fueled effects or Open Flame that cannot be instantly extinguished is prohibited. While most standards for Flame Effects apply to Mutant Vehicles, there are some issues specific to them that must be addressed. For more detailed information, see our Guidelines for Flame Effects for Mutant Vehicles.

GENERAL FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES

The Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) and outside authorities, including law enforcement, retain jurisdiction over all flame classifications. They have the right to request to see an artist's fire permit laminate, and can override, stop, alter, or cancel any artwork or performance with just cause. They have access to all areas of the artwork or performance at all times.

FAST requires that you conform to the following guidelines:

  • All artists, performers, theme camp organizers, and Mutant Vehicle crews are responsible for their own art and effects, including testing the performance or art installation to verify that it will not endanger participants, performers or members of FAST.
  • No one may display, exhibit, or discharge any flames without the authorization of FAST.
  • Any carelessness, negligence or unsafe conditions shall not be tolerated.
  • Persons operating flame effects or involved in pyrotechnic displays shall not consume or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at any time during display or operation of their display or performance.
  • All fuel tanks on the open playa must be protected from vehicle traffic and be well lit at night.
  • All Flame Effects and Pyrotechnic special effects operators and assistants must be 21 years of age or older and be trained in the use of fire extinguishers.
  • Pyrotechnic Operators and assistants shall wear fire resistant clothing during the performances.

Fire Safety Liaison

A knowledgeable representative of the art installation or performance shall serve as a Fire Safety Liaison: The Fire Safety liaison is responsible for the exchange of information about the art installation with FAST. They will maintain communication of all aspects of the Project during the event. The "Artist" registering the artwork and the Fire Safety Liaison can be the same person or two different people.

Pre-Playa Submission Requirements

Depending upon which Flame Classification the artist uses in their creation, the following must be submitted to the Fire Art Safety Team pre-playa:

  • Scenario
  • Special Effects Material & Supplies
  • Diagrams: Performance Schedule
  • Safety Plan and Emergency Plan of Action during the use of the Pyrotechnic art

On-Playa Requirements

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To receive approval to use Flame Effects for art projects and within theme camps, the Fire Safety Liaison must attend a technical walk-through meeting with a member of FAST the day prior to its use. If this meeting is missed by the Liaison, the artist or theme camp will not be allowed to operate the Flame Effects. Flame Effects on Mutant Vehicles will be inspected at the Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles (DMV).

Emergency Plan Of Action

Any artist, theme camp or Mutant Vehicle using Open Fire, Flame Effects and/or Pyrotechnics must develop an Emergency Plan of Action. If an art installation or performance has received approval and is scheduled, this plan should be submitted to FAST prior to the inspection.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for hazardous chemicals must be supplied and must be kept on site.

Daily Safety Check

A Daily Safety Check of all Flame Effects fuels, materials, hoses, pumps, wicking, pressure of tanks, etc. will be mandatory before daily/nightly art installation/performance begins. If a safety hazard has been identified, the Fire Safety Liaison will halt the art installation/performance until such safety matters are resolved to the satisfaction of FAST.

Fuel and Hazardous Material Storage

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Great care must be taken in the storage of fuels and hazardous materials in both art projects and theme camps. Issues such as fuel containment, safety perimeters and fire prevention are important and should be planned for before arriving in Black Rock City. Please read these guidelines for Fuel and Hazardous Material Storage.

No Smoking Or Open Flame Near Fuel or Flammables.

No smoking or Open Flame within 25 feet of any location of fuel, flammable liquids, hazardous materials or anything potentially dangerous. All fuel and flammables should be secured in approved containers, stored in a safe and secure area located a minimum of 50 feet away from any open flame.

No smoking or Open Flames will be permitted within 25 feet of any point of assembly area where any pyrotechnic materials are present.

No pyrotechnics, flame or spark will be permitted to cross, enter, go over, under, on, or around the audience.

Leave No Trace

The artist, Fire Safety Liaison and performers are responsible for all clean up at the art installation, performance site and theme camp after the Burning Man event. The area should be as clean as when you found it and must 'LEAVE NO TRACE'.

The theme camp or project Fire Safety Liaison must carry 'Spill Clean-Up Tools' (shovel, rake, metal garbage can, etc.) for accidental spillage of material.

Read more about Leave No Trace For Artists

Questions

Here are email addresses to direct questions concerning:
Art installations in general: installations (at) burningman (dot) com
Open Fire: fire-art (at) burningman (dot) com
Flame Effects: flame-effects (at) burningman (dot) com
Pyrotechnics: pyro (at) burningman (dot) com

Register Your Project

Visit our Art Installation Questionnaire page to register your project.