August 3rd: Supplying the Burn

Supplying the Burn
Hazmatt is Burning Man’s Purchasing Manager. He’s a dot-com refugee who now oversees acquisitions and requisitions for everything needed to erect, maintain, and dismantle Black Rock City. Think about it. From zip ties to chain saws. (40,000 zip ties actually. And not just any zip ties, not the crummy little multi-colored ones you get at Big Lots. These have to be the right zip ties. Manly zip ties.) Shade cloths, ground anchors, survey flags, and trash fence. Orange cones, truckloads of lumber, t-stake pullers, and laser range finders. The nuts and bolts of the city, literally.

Hazmatt & Jalapena Hazmatt and Jalapeña keep track of heavy equipment rentals, port-a-potties, generators, movable buildings, water trucks, and all the rental contracts, including deliveries and pick-ups. And this year they’re expecting around 45,000 people. That means 1,000 port-a-potties and 8 miles of trash fence. Eight miles! That’s 500 rolls at 100 feet each, along with all the stakes and pounders that you need to stand them up. So quit whining about how much grocery shopping you need to do before you get out here.

Sign Language
Sign Shop GalsThis afternoon I went out to the ranch for the first time and checked out the sign shop. This is where all the intersection signs are produced. You know, the ones on the posts that say 5:30 and Destiny. But that’s not all. The four women in this shop make almost two thousand signs for our fair city.

Check it out as you’re wandering around the playa. All those signs along the dirt road as you come in, the signs at the intersections and Greeter’s stations. Center Camp signs, gate signs, and all the informational signs about different services. It’s a ton of work.

Mel painting the street signs Degenerate, Hormel, After 5, and Beer Abby are responsible for designing the signs, making the stencils, cutting the wood, painting, and a bunch of other stuff I’m gonna learn about when I work with them next Tuesday. They also have to mount all the signs on signposts and manage installation and removal. Plus, they have to cover all those t-stakes with noodles.

Wait until you see the street signs this year. They’re beautiful! Each one painted by hand with lots of gorgeous colors. The bar has officially been raised. Props to the sign shop. Oh, and they also do some custom jobs… (Heather, thanks for my Awesome banner.)


About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee Benson

Marnee joined Black Rock Solar in 2009 as an environmental journalist and project manager who had recently organized a worldwide sailing expedition and global warming lecture series. While growing up in New Mexico, Marnee played tennis in the high-desert sun, ripped it up at local ski resorts, and rode bikes with her friends. She’s lived in Reno for more than ten years, after stops in Jackson Hole and southern California– where she played beach volleyball and studied math at San Diego State University. Marnee traded in her tennis racket and bikinis for carabiners and climbing shoes when she hit the Sierra Nevada, and she recently graduated from UNR with two master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy. She organized the Tour de Nez bike race for three years and sailed with Greenpeace International before turning her attention full-time to Black Rock Solar. In her spare time, Marnee counts her lucky stars for being able to work with the Holland Project and March Fourth Marching Band.