Don’t Sneak In! 2016

anonymous fire

We just received this tip-off from Anonymous Burner:

from private gate FB group where people sneaking in to burning man are being discussed:

Gate are really gunning for people trying to sneak in this year, they are using military grade FLIR and have orders to search all boxes even ones they have to unbolt, plus the LEOs will be on hand to charge any attempts with trespassing and an automatic trip to the Reno jail for a minimum 36 hour stay for EVERY occupant of the vehicle.

There is no way to verify this, so take it for what it is: a rumor. One that sounds pretty credible, given Burning Man’s recent evolution into a very sophisticated police state.

FLIR is Forward Looking Infra-Red. These systems are not just for night vision; they can look within your vehicle to identify bodies. FLIR technology can also be used to identify drugs from their thermal signature.

Last year it came out that more than 50 police departments are using radar to look inside peoples’ homes. The systems can detect the tiny movement of a person breathing, through walls.

Burning Man has for a long time used marine radar to identify people trying to sneak in over the trash fence.

How did Burning Man get access to military technology? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

We covered people sneaking past the Gate in 2014. The threat that every person in the vehicle gets 36 hours jail if they’re harboring someone without a ticket is something I haven’t heard before. Burning Man Gate have the power to lock people up without charges or evidence of a crime? Wow.

Image: Hivemind

Image: Black Magic Hivemind


Screenshot 2016-08-04 21.34.12

An All-Seeing Eye at Center Camp is constantly scanning Burning Man, and miles of land around it.

42 comments on “Don’t Sneak In! 2016

  1. “FLIR technology can also be used to identify drugs from their thermal signature” is not correct. The FLIR corporation just happens to make mass spectrometers. They do not operate at a distance. Their thermal imaging devices are a different product line.

    The intent of the article, “don’t try to sneak in” is entirely correct.

      • FLIR corporation has many military sales which can be seen from their public corporate reports. Talking about FLIR is good topic for Do it! Thanks! FLIR also sells their imaging sensors to energy efficiency companies and AS mobile phone attachments. Their energy efficiency and law enforcement sensors cannot detect illegal pharmaceuticals at a distance. FLIR’s special sauce is cooled sensors. So anyone, including Burning Man, can purchase the imaging sensors in a specific infrared range. You can say that company is a derogatory male appendage, but their sensors find people lost in the wilderness often. Their tech also finds individuals trying to sneak into the event. The smarts of GPE and the tech will find individuals sneaking. is a cool site but accurate benefits all burners. Thanks!

    • Fill out the volunteer questionnaire from your burner profile, and select gate as the group you want to volunteer with.

    • I’m flattered that you like my picture so much… I LOVE THIS PHOTO! But I have requested as of this morning that remove it from this article. The owner, Chad Slattery, put in a similar request. That picture is ten years old now, it’s a reminder of a lot of hard work, love, the beauty of my early burning man experiences, and it always makes me happy to see it, but not today. Not like this. For many years I volunteered for the org, I did a lot of other things at the event too, but gate was my first love when it came to volunteering experiences. Soooooo many great times with that crew, so much love! But neither Chad, myself, or burning man were asked, and we never gave permission for my image to be used in this article, and I would really appreciate it if it were removed as soon as possible.

  2. Here’s the thing- Gate does NOT have the power to incarcerate anyone. To say that they do is not only giving them too much credit, it’s also bad reporting. There is an agreement with BLM (the contract) which stipulates that every participant is ticketed, if they are inside the federal closure zone which surrounds burning man and they don’t have a ticket, BLM has every right to detain, arrest, and fine that person. So who has the power? YOU DO. That’s right, you have all the power here! If you don’t want to be detained, arrested, or fined, don’t be in the closure zone without a ticket. You can avoid all of that by not sneaking in.
    For some, I understand, the risk is worth the potential reward. But what are you really doing when you sneak in? You’re telling our community that the values and principles of the event aren’t important to you. That all the people who have either bought a ticket or EARNED it through hard work aren’t as important as you getting your jollies from taking what you want. Our community is based on strong values. Burning man can’t exist without the volunteers, artists, and participants who each do their part to create such a wondrous experience. When you sneak in, you are defiling that experience. People who sneak rarely have food, water, or shelter, and they definitely aren’t planning to add to the event in any way. They’re freeloaders, they contribute absolutely nothing at all. Is that what we want for burning man? This article makes me think that the author feels that freeloading is an acceptable behavior, that not only breaking the law but going against the principles is so cool that they wrote an entire article about how unfair it is for law breaking unprincipled people to suffer the consequences of their very own actions. I find this pretty disgusting, considering I’m one of the people who has worked for burning man and contributed over 14 years of my life in the form of volunteering, running a theme camp, and creating large granted art.
    The good news is, you don’t need hundreds of dollars to attend this event. I have never paid for a ticket in my life, I have perpetuated my experience by working, and you can do this too. In this way, you are a contributing member of our tribe, what you do is important to the over all experience of everyone there. There are many ways for you to do this! And best of all, it’s SUPER FUN to volunteer! You make new friends, have memories to last a life time, become part of a crew of dedicated, interesting, intelligent individuals who are well worth having in your life. The benefits of earning your place far outweigh the risks of being caught sneaking in. Maybe you could write an article about how to earn your ticket, instead of an inflammatory and incorrect article about how to sneak in? Just a thought, because I know how hard it can be for poor people (like myself) to attend. In this way you could be doing an actual service to those who want to go, but don’t know how to afford it.

    • >I have perpetuated my experience by working, and you can do this too. In this way, you are a contributing member of our tribe

      Hence the arrogance of the volunteers which creates the Us vs Them mentality that is so prevalent on the playa. It is ‘our’ tribe, and you’re not a member until you work for the organization that exploits the free labor model of doing business. Oh, but it’s not free labor, Tummy – we get tickets and someday I’ll get a email address, too, and even a walkie talkie… ohhhhh…. look at me… look at me…

      • Tummy Tum, you don’t have to work directly for the org. If you go to their honorarium page, they show every project that has gotten a grant to produce art. These crews need help! They often are given free tickets from burning man to give to their volunteers. You could contact one in your area and see if they need help (I have done this more than once). The benefit of this is that you learn new skills (this is how I learned to weld and work with wood and electronic blinkies) make great new friends, and you get to be on a rock star team of art producers.
        As for the arrogance of volunteers, it may seem arrogant to you, but to us we have earned the right to be there. We have created something special, been part of something bigger than we alone could create. I’m sorry you regard that as a negative trait, to me it has always been a point of pride and joy. It’s not that you aren’t a member of the tribe if you don’t work for the org, it’s that you aren’t a member of the tribe if you are stealing from the tribe (which is what sneaking essentially is, stealing) or bringing anything to the table in terms of participation.

        • I’ll give you some advice, because you’re going to need it eventually. When you leave the volunteer community it will be for one of two reasons: 1) You quit. 2) You get fired/ostracized… The only way to maintain your foxhole friendships that you collected along the way is if you go out at the same time for the same reasons.

          There is only exception and only one other way, but it takes planning – you need to get fired based on an obvious catastrophic accident that you caused and that everyone knows about; something that can be forgiven by your friends but not excusable by the the org. ‘Tough luck’, they’ll say, ‘Accidents happen.’

          If you quit, you character will be assassinated. The community cant handle rejection, and you will be trashed. If you’re fired/ostracized for simple character traits or inability to suck cock properly, you will also be trashed.

          Ever wonder what happened to all the ex-voluteers, all those thousands of people are just gone and no one hears about anymore? If their experiences were so positive, why don’t they have their own communities where they talk about all the good times? They’re gone because they’re too embarrassed to even talk about their experiences volunteering for the org – because they got so badly suckered. They just moved on.

          But good luck though! Have fun!

          • Tummy Tum- Thanks for the advise, I think? It sounds to me like you have a grudge from personal experience. I worked for the burn for over 14 years already, and when I left, nothing, not one thing bad ever happened. If anything, they’ve been trying to get me to return. I had to stop going because of health issues. In my time there I did see some firings, some folks were asked to leave for a variety of reasons, regardless of the why, it’s individual. I’ve never seen a volunteer have their character assassinated just for leaving. Do you think they have a dept in the org just for trashing ex volunteers? lol, I really don’t think so. I think that you are over generalizing, because a lot can and does happen in the dust, it is not a rule that people leaving are trashed upon exit, lol. When individuals speak to me in vast generalizations that are actually sour grapes from their own failed experiences, it makes me feel that they have an unbalanced view of the subject, NOT everyone who worked for them leaves in a disgruntled state (although some do). I have met hundreds of volunteers in 14 years, seen a lot of different things happen, I’m friends with a lot of ex-staff/volunteers and they all seem fine. So your advise while seemingly well meaning is really a facade for you to air your personal issues, and isn’t there to actually help me as much as for you to be able to talk trash under the guise of being helpful… not actually helpful at all. But thanks? I think? lol

          • It’s always the same shaming language – the charge of making generalizations, the charge of being bitter or having issues (because it’s something wrong with you). I’ve never volunteered for the org but had many friends who did who went down in flames – and friends of those friends. I’ve had people come up to me and trash my friends because they didn’t know we were friends. Basically, the whole thing is one giant backstabbing climb to next rung in the ladder.

            Perhaps you volunteered to to build Happy Nice Town that spews tickets from the thing on top, dunno don’t care. It’s when you write, hey guise – just volunteer to get your tickets and everything is great. I know it’s not true. I know how vicious all these little Larrys and Crimsons are on every level, to the point of criminally abusive.

          • You mean you’re trash talking something that you have personally never even experienced? Um, ok, I guess, if that’s how you roll. You most certainly did generalize, a great deal, about something you only know about from second hand information. ” It’s when you write, hey guise – just volunteer to get your tickets and everything is great. I know it’s not true. ” Fair enough, it is true that not everything there is perfect. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, and I certainly don’t mean to sound as if everyone going will have a perfect experience. I didn’t. There were definitely bumps along the road, situations and people that pissed me off, and no, everything was not fair one hundred percent of the time. There is no such creature, there is no place anywhere where everything is perfect and great and all your expectations will be met with the result you want. That’s life, it’s not just burning dude. ” If their experiences were so positive, why don’t they have their own communities where they talk about all the good times? ” There are a ton of online and real life communities of ex-volunteers who talk about the good times. You just aren’t aware of them because you never volunteered for the org.

    • “This article makes me think that the author feels that freeloading is an acceptable behavior”

      …the title of the article is Don’t Sneak In. Hard to see how I could make that any more clear.

      • The tone came across as “don’t sneak in, because it’s a police state that will imprison you,” as opposed to “don’t sneak in, because it’s the wrong thing to do and devalues the contributions made by others.” Whether or not that’s how the author intended it to come across, only they know. But it definitely seems to be more critical over the Gate crew using FLIR technology, than being critical of the people who are breaking the law / rules by trying to sneak in.

        • Do you think volunteers in the Gate Crew got together and said “wouldn’t it be better if Burning Man had advanced technology to detect stowaways and drugs”…and BMOrg listened to this, and went out to evaluate a range of solutions before deciding on paying for this one?

          Or did someone say “hey here’s some technology, you guys should use this”? If so…who was that? What’s their interest in this?


          did this change originate from

          We The People


          The Man

          • Gate could care less about your drugs, It’s not on their list of prohibited items. Even if they found some, they are not empowered to act.

          • It was never said that folks shouldn’t worry about “sniffer dogs or anything”. Gate doesn’t have them nor do they care. It’s BLM that you should be your concern if that is what you are worried about. Your a winner, I can feel it.

    • “Our community is based on strong values.” HOWEVER, recently talking to some insiders with comped tickets, they have clearly noted that the NV burn is NOT a community of burners. It is a private event created by the Borg, with rules, policies and choices that are entirely at their discretion and caprice.

      The whole “community” thing is a rouse to keep getting people to volunteer, which is a developing concern:

  3. “Burning Man Gate have the power to lock people up without charges or evidence of a crime? Wow.”

    No. But actual law enforcement can lock people up when they are charged with trespassing. The BLM closure order is clear about this.

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