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Below is the first letter back from Bman on theme camps. I will try to forward them to camp mates via E-mail, but will will also try to post them here as they come.
If you are not on the camp email list, send your address to Email (at) Contraptionists.Com.

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 14:33:07 -0700
From: Harley K. Dubois
Subject: [themecamps-announce] TC ANNC. #10,'04/ Early Arrivals/
Storing Fuels

Hi Campsters,

Are you ready yet? It is almost here! YEAH!

We are leaving for the playa pretty soon so make sure that you ask your individual placer your burning questions soon.



All registered theme camps are welcome to come to Black Rock City as early as Saturday, August 28th, at 12:01 AM. Registered theme camps have special permission to enter. Placement is up and running and we welcome your arrival! We encourage you all to get in and get set up. Remember, all Center Camp camps must be in by 6:00 PM on Sunday the 29th, all Esplanade camps must be in by 6:00 on Monday the 30th and all other camps must be in by 6:00 PM on Tuesday the 31st.

Bringing a copy of this announcement and know the name of your camp when entering our gate.



If you are planning on storing more than 20 liquid gallons of any fuel (gasoline, kerosene, diesel, or propane) either in your camp or at your art project please remember to follow these common sense guidelines:

For compressed and liquefied gasses such as CO2, oxygen, propane, nitrogen etc.:

* All gas cylinders must be stored in an upright position and secured to prevent tipping.
* Black Rock City Emergency Services must be notified of the presence of acetylene cylinders of any size.
* At least one fire extinguisher must be visible and available at all times when storing flammable gasses.
* Propane cylinders of 100 gallons or more are not permitted within the city limits.
* Oxygen cylinders must be kept at least 20 feet from any flammable gasses when not in use.

For liquid fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and white gas:

* Any collection of 20 gallons or more of flammable liquid must be kept within a secondary containment area. This can be as simple as a petroleum resistant tarp rolled into a catch.
* A supply of cat litter should be kept in a basin on hand for any spills.
* All containers must be labeled identifying contents and hazards.
* A safety perimeter must be provided at least 30 feet from any camping as well as a clear access for the Black Rock City Emergency Services in case of fire.
*At least one 18 pound A-B dry chemical fire extinguisher must be kept visible and available at all times.

More safety reminders:

* Petroleum fires burn at the surface of the material as it is vaporized by the fire's heat. Applying water causes the flaming liquid to spread over a wider area and vaporize more rapidly, thus intensifying the fire. The best way to put out such a fire is to cut off its air. The smothering agents commonly used to do this for petroleum fires are carbon dioxide (CO2) and dry chemical powders. Both are equally effective, but the dry chemical is better for outdoor use because it's not subject to wind. For good all-around fire protection, use an ABC or ll-class extinguisher
* Store fuel away from running generator.
* Do not fill the tank on a generator that is running.
* Keep all equipment used for petroleum storage and handling in good condition. Watch for leaks, deterioration or damage.
* If fuel is spilled on your clothing, go away from any ignition source, and allow the clothing to dry.
* When transferring fuel use a pump. Never use your mouth. A mouth full of gas or diesel could be fatal.
* Be aware of static electricity. This can build up on you and or the container. Any spark can ignite gasoline vapors. Use a grounding strap.


GETTING WORK DONE (for camps with complaints or who missed deadlines)

I need to remind everyone that Burning Man has very few paid staff members and we wear many hats to do a lot of work. Additionally there is a hard core group a volunteers that are passionate about their roles with Burning Man but have full time jobs for 8 hours a day on top of what they give. There are no slackers here.

Receiving emails full of emotion, sometimes incoherent outrage, like a disappointed customer with an uncaring business is really disappointing. Less emotional emails with more information that could help to solve issues are more productive. Though none of us are perfect everyone here has the Burning Man spirit and is trying to help, even when people act like jerks (most theme camps are helpful and understanding and we really appreciate that). When we have problem cases we just make a big sigh, try to keep our perspective, attempt to pull the facts we need out of the information sent and get on with trying to make everything work out for everyone involved. There is a lot to get done at this time of the year and gratuitous emotion is not helpful.

Some folks don't like the answer they get so they start to "shop for answers" or try and dodge our process. This is also counter productive. Please do not go to any other departments or staff members with issues involving your placement or theme camp needs. It will only cloud issues further and waste precious energy.

We try to but cannot always remind you of every deadline and every requirement. Early on we set the expectation that you must be responsible for incoming information yourself and remind you that after July 15th we may need you to be available to answer questions, etc. The average Burning Man participant is addicted to information and self reliance, so this expectation seems reasonable. Most theme camps seem to have no problem meeting these needs.

If you read the Afterburn Reports we started a few years ago you will begin to see that we really value honesty, admitting mistakes and trying to make things better in the future. You can hold us to this standard. We consider it a waste of time and energy to try and keep up the appearance of perfection. Please do not waste your time or ours trying to fabricate reason why you missed a deadline or need special accommodations. A smoke screen of indignation is easy to see through as well. We really appreciate it when people present their situations honestly, without emotion if possible. We will always try and solve the issue at hand. We want to help! We will bend our processes to be of assistance when we can. However, we will not sacrifice time and resources if we are not able to be responsible to the entire organization when doing so. If we need to make a decision between spending time on early arrival issues coming in after the deadline or nailing down vendor contracts for the city's porta-potties, we have no choice but to put our vendor contracts first. We hope you understand.


Remember, it's just a week in the desert!


Harley K. DuBois
Black Rock City LLC
Community Services and Playa Safety
415 865-3800, ext 103