The Ranger Council is the governing body of the Black Rock Rangers. Its mission is to make strategic decisions, craft policy, manage the budget, and represent the Ranger Department and community to the Burning Man Organization. While individual members of the Council may work more frequently with one team or another, all members of the Ranger Department ultimately report to the Council as a whole.
If you have questions about Ranger policies or have suggestions for how things could be done differently in the department, you can contact the Council via ranger-council-list at burningman dot org. You can also email individual Council members directly at <handle>@burningman.org (for example, contact Roslyn for anything communications-related).
2021 Ranger Council
Ranger Operations Team
Various teams within the Ranger Organization require year-round coordination to administer, plan, and carry out their work at the event. These leadership groups are generally called Cadres, and are made up of experienced Rangers.
The Ranger Ops Team is comprised of representatives from each Ranger Cadre. The mission of the Ops Team is to align with the Council on strategic, budgetary, and event-wide issues. The Ops Team allows representatives from Cadres to connect and consult with each other on operational issues to maximize effectiveness, ensure transparency, allow for checks and balances, and ultimately foster a sense of teamwork through information sharing and mutual support. Contact the Ops Team Chair (Corax) if you are interested in sitting in on an Ops Team meeting, or have any questions about the Ops Team, via corax at burningman dot org.
2021 Ranger Ops Team Reps
On and Off-playa Organizational Charts (click to zoom in)
Ranger Cadres and Teams
Within the Black Rock Ranger organization, Cadres are the leadership groups responsible for recruiting, vetting, training, managing, and propagating an individual Ranger team. Cadres are occasionally referred to using different terms (e.g. Training Academy), but Cadre is the most common.
If you want to learn more about a Ranger Team or want to get involved in the Rangers’ year-round operations, check out the Ranger Special Teams document on the homepage of the Secret Clubhouse, contact the Cadres, or get in touch with the Ranger Volunteer Coordinators to see what opportunities are open. All email addresses below are @burningman.org.
Burn Safety Team
The Burn Safety Team coordinates with the BRC Fire Arts Safety Team and Emergency Services department to help deal with all large burns. We wrangle all Ranger burn perimeters as well as providing advice and support for individual artist burns when requested. If it is on fire, odds are we are there. For 2021, the Burn Safety Cadre is Beast, Eucalyptus, Honey Badger, Po-Boy, Porcupine, Roma, Rooster, and Uncle Dave. Contact: [email protected]
Art Car Wranglers
A subteam of Burn Safety, Art Car Wranglers are bike-mobile Rangers that set and maintain a safe perimeter for all art cars attending major burn events. The essential elements of every Wrangler are great situational awareness, a willingness to actively engage participants, and an ability to be Ranger-calm and creative in the midst of real chaos. The Art Car Wranglers are managed by Rooster. Contact: [email protected].
Captain Hook is the group call sign of the team that operates the Ranger tow truck. This resource is used when a vehicle is blocking access to roads or otherwise causing a safety hazard, and for removing repeat-offending mutant vehicles from the event. Captain Hook is never called for courtesy tows, jump-starts, or lockouts; these calls go to Lockout/Tow. Rangers requesting tows must stay with the vehicle and/or participants until released by Captain Hook or Khaki. Requests for tows are made to Khaki; do not go direct to Captain Hook unless Khaki advises you to do so. The 2021 Tow Truck Cadre is Creech, Po-Boy, and Wunderpants. Contact: [email protected]
The Command Cadre is comprised of Officers of the Day (OODs), Ranger Shift Leads (RSLs), Operators, Troubleshooters, and RSCIs. These teams are responsible for the smooth running of on-shift operations and supporting Rangers in the field. The Shift Command Team is managed by the Command Cadre, that works year-round to develop and implement policies in an iterative process involving the Cadre, the Ops Team, and the Council. The 2020 Command Cadre is Beast, Crow, Easy E, Foofurr, Judas (not pictured), Librarian, and Stegosaur. Contact [email protected]
The WESL (pronounced “weasel”) team monitors Ranger radio traffic and acts as an interface between Ranger Shift Command and non-Ranger resources, such as the Emergency Services Department (ESD) and Law Enforcement (LE). Being located in the dispatch center allows WESLs to reduce emergency response time. The 2021 WESL Delegation is Ahimsa (not pictured), Bitbucket, Harleyquinn, Jollu Rancher, SillyGoatGirl, and Starseed. Contact [email protected] for more information.
The Ranger Communications Team works year-round to keep Rangers connected and informed through email announcements, town halls, and newsletters, contributing mindfully to Allcom, editing materials and documents, and crafting and facilitating communications strategies. The Communications Team is managed by the Communication Cadre, and reports to the Communications Manager. The 2021 Communications Cadre consists of Ahimsa (not pictured), HelpDesk, Roslyn, Tanuki, and Vader. Contact [email protected] with comments or questions.
Gerlach Patrol leaves the event to perform Ranger skills and de-escalate situations in Gerlach, thus building Social Capital in the Gerlach community. The Gerlach patrol is a very unique rangering opportunity that will challenge even the most seasoned Ranger with its diverse spectrum of cultural convictions. The 2021 Gerlach Patrol Cadre is Forward, Frosty Paws, Hobbit, Limoncello, and Mankind. Contact [email protected] with questions or comments.
Green Dots are Rangers who ride the edge of “inner” chaos. When the counseling required exceeds your Dirt Ranger training and comfort zone, Khaki can dispatch a Green Dot Ranger to assist you with the situation. Some Green Dots bring training or certification in fields like psychology, psychiatry, sexual violence peer counseling, or substance abuse. Others simply bring their own life experiences and willingness to listen. Green Dots are first and foremost patient listeners who are present for participants who are distressed or disoriented. Green Dots, like other Rangers, do their best to stay out of the way and keep participants safe. Green Dot Rangers patrol in the field, working as Dirt Rangers with a Ranger partner, until a situation which calls on their additional skills arises. Green Dot Rangers also staff Sanctuary.
Green Dots are also available to support individual Rangers’ internal work even when they aren’t in crisis.
For 2021, the Green Dot Cadre is Black Swan, Europa, Falcore, Mendy, Nobooty, Peaches, and Tribeca. Contact: [email protected]
Hot Springs Patrol
As part of Burning Man’s agreement with the Bureau of Land Management, the hot springs surrounding the Black Rock Desert must be protected from overuse. For many years now, Black Rock Rangers have partnered with Earth Guardians as drivers of the Hot Springs Patrol van. We travel out of the city into the open playa to deliver volunteers to Double Hot, Black Rock, and Trego hot springs, three times a day, every day the event is open. If you would like to become a Hot Springs Patrol driver, please contact wunderpants at burningman dot org.
Intercept addresses vehicle safety concerns within Black Rock City. Intercept’s patrol focus is on inner and outer Playa during Swing and Grave shifts (4 p.m. until 4 a.m.). Intercept Rangers frequently come across situations where they are a first responder on Playa; it’s often a lot more than just directing Grandma’s RV off the Esplanade! Intercept uses both vehicle and bicycle mobile Rangers to achieve its mission. The core of Intercept are bike-ready Rangers, as bikes are the fastest way to respond to events in Black Rock City. Intercept works closely with Khaki, Dirt Rangers, other Ranger teams, and the DMV on vehicle safety issues. For 2020 the Intercept Team is Beast, Buick, Buzcut, Bystander, Crow, Grooves, Mailman, Nosler, Reno, Tahoe, and RiverCity. Contact ranger-intercept-list comments or questions.
LEAL is the acronym used to identify Rangers who work as Law Enforcement Agency Liaisons. On the radio, the on-duty LEAL lead is Zebra 1, with other LEAL teams Zebra 2, 3, etc. As Black Rock City has grown in size and Burning Man has grown in visibility, working with and having a positive relationship with Law Enforcement has become more important. The LEAL team plays a crucial role in this area. LEAL Team members work with law enforcement and agency personnel to attain the best possible alignment between the needs of the Burning Man Project and the citizens of Black Rock City. For 2020, the LEAL Team is Action Jack, Chilidog, Lady Frog, Pocketpunk, and Rat Bastard. For questions about LEAL, Contact [email protected]
Leave No Trace
LNT deals with environmental compliance issues. If you like geocaching, hide & seek, or a good old easter egg hunt, then you’ll love being part of the LNT team as you cruise the city in the comfort of a golf cart in search of grey water, black water and other liquid spills, all the while interacting with participants and spreading the word on how to keep BRC moop-free. Contact indiapale at burningman dot org with any questions.
The Logistics Team supports the logistics of Ranger field operations. These Rangers attend to Ranger infrastructure and support needs before the event, during the event, after the event, and in the year-round planning season. The tasks performed by Logistics are time-sensitive, behind-the-scenes, fun, chaotic, and sometimes surreal. Rangers working Logistics will interact with other Burning Man departments, connect with the community, and gain insight into the inner workings of Black Rock City. Logistics is comprised of five sub-teams: HQ Echelon, Field Echelon, Vehicle Maintenance, Quartermaster, and SITE (Setup, Infrastructure, Teardown, Egress). The 2020 Logistics Team is led by Chameleon (chameleon at burningman dot org).
The HQ Echelon Team serves many vital functions, including working in the HQ Office to provide event and shift check-in & check-out, HQ operations, scheduling, database updates, reporting, and a fair amount of Rangering from the window. The HQ Team is also responsible for distributing Rangers their radios and BMIDs. HQ Echelon is located at Ranger HQ. For 2020, the HQ Cadre is Codec, Grofaz, Homebrew, Mailman, Nobooty, Socrates, and Tranquilitea. Contact [email protected] with comments or questions.
The SITE Crew is responsible for marshaling resources from within the Ranger department (as well as other Burning Man departments) to ensure that the physical plots of Ranger HQ and Outposts are constructed, operate properly during the event, and then disappear into the dust (well, back into the containers) after the event, leaving no trace that the Rangers were there. The Logistics office is located at Outpost Tokyo, though during the event many Logistics services operate out of HQ. The 2020 SITE leads are Chameleon, Corax, Kermit, Lodestone, Santa Cruz, Saudade, Skitter Skip, and Urchin. Contact [email protected] with questions or comments.
Echelon Field Team
The Field Echelon Team provides a broad range of logistics support to the Rangers including, among other services, stocking HQ and the outposts with water and electrolytes and delivering snacks and coffee to Rangers out on burn perimeters. Field Echelon is mobile and traverses the city and inner playa several times each day. The 2020 Field Echelon Team is led by Boiler with Halon as back-up. Contact boiler at burningman dot org with questions.
The Quartermaster Team stores and distributes a variety of items including: Ranger schwag, Ranger appreciation apparel, and Ranger apparel and BMIDs for the newly-minted Shiny Pennies. The Quartermaster also stores and distributes common supplies used by multiple Ranger teams. The Quartermaster is located behind the HQ Echelon Building. The 2020 Quartermaster Team is led by Miss Piggy (misspiggy at burningman dot org).
The Vehicle Maintenance Team ensures Ranger vehicles are properly maintained and in peak operational performance. Vehicle Maintenance is located at Ranger Outpost Tokyo. The 2020 Vehicle Maintenance Leads are Curious George and Lapman.
Mentors are responsible for the assessment and selection of new Black Rock Rangers. Volunteering as a Black Rock Ranger requires a delicate and complex set of skills. Our role has been described as “riding the edge of chaos,” and has been referred to as our art: our contribution to Black Rock City. The basic elements of Rangering are best taught by example. We have learned over the years that it is necessary and appropriate to evaluate prospective Rangers before bestowing the khaki shirt and hat that identifies them as Dirt Rangers. Not everyone is cut out for Rangering, and after their first shift, not every applicant will feel that Rangering is right for them. The final step on the road to becoming a Ranger is the responsibility of Ranger Mentors. Ranger Mentors are chosen because they demonstrate the characteristics and attributes that define the essence and diversity of Black Rock Rangers. These experienced Rangers are open, fair, informative, and resourceful. Each Ranger Mentor shares a common goal of supporting the on-playa mission of the Black Rock Rangers. The Mentor Cadre handles year-round organization of the Mentor Team. The 2020 Mentor Cadre is 2Step, Brightheart, Mendy, Siggo, Sinamox, Santa Cruz, and Yonder. Contact [email protected] with questions or comments.
Officers of the Day
The Ranger Officers of the Day (OODs) are experienced Rangers who advise the Shift Command Team on complex issues and keep the Operations Managers informed of relevant information during the event. OODs have 24-hour shifts and are responsible for understanding the larger context of Ranger operations on that day and making sure the operations of the Rangers as a whole stay consistent. The OODs also represent the Rangers to other departments and outside agencies and are responsible for organizing the 007 group and the DOODs (Deputy Officers of the Day). Contact [email protected] for more information. Our OODs are Beast, CCSallie, Crow, EasyE, Keeper, Peaches, Safety Phil, SlipOn, and Splinter.
The Operator team monitors and logs Ranger radio traffic and keeps track of open incidents. One or more Operators are always on duty to assist the Shift Command Team with their informational needs and follow-through on incidents. The 2020 Operator Leads are Coal Smoke, Firefly, Librarian, and Smitty. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Rapid Night Response (RNR)
Rapid Night Response’s role is to get qualified Rangers to serious situations fast, amidst the challenging and complex night-time environment of Black Rock City. Providing quick emergency responses, or even just being aware of where you left your beer, over a large area of intense activity like BRC is a unique challenge. In 2000, a team of qualified Rangers calling itself Rapid Night Response found that by incorporating the skills of the city bike messenger in coordinated patrols, they could respond faster and with an amplified degree of organization, filling a niche between the wandering Ranger and the wait for resources.
Members of RNR are required to exhibit a high level of teamwork, endurance, and commitment. RNR kicks the helpful Ranger ethic into high gear when it is needed most desperately, concentrating the wide vision and light touch of the Rangers on situations that are quickly becoming “SITUATIONS!” The roving wheels and intuitive perceptions of the RNR team is embodied in the motto: “We were there ten minutes ago.” RNR’s Guiding Core is Farmer, Mammoth, Porcupine, Silent Wolf, and Sundancer. Contact [email protected] for questions.
Regional Ranger Network
The Regional Ranger Network is a coalition of Regional Ranger Leadership, including Black Rock Rangers. They provide peer-support and materials for the formation, training, and growth of Regional Ranger teams. The group also facilitates Regional Rangers attending events across regions. The group is global and has a number of working committees. The Regional Ranger Network is managed by Diver Dave and Zeitgeist. Contact: [email protected].
Sandmen (and Sandwomen) maintain safety inside the inner perimeter of the Man and Temple burns. While the role is mainly one of prevention and dissuasion, Sandmen are on occasion called upon to subdue “runners.” Sandmen receive special training in minimally-harmful physical intervention. As with all Rangers, participant safety is their goal. The 2020 Sandman Cadre is Dustoff, Lodestone, Roadrash, Sinamox, Urchin, and Vegas. Contact ranger-sandman-cadre-list for more information.
The Tech Team supports the Rangers’ geektastic needs. Obtaining, squishing about, and sharing data about Rangers is a primary goal of this team. This includes pre-event application development, moving the database to and from the playa, and on-playa administration and troubleshooting. The 2020 Tech Cadre is Citizen, Corax, Safety Phil, Stonebeard, Tool, and Frankenstein. Contact ranger-tech-cadre-list for questions.
Training Academy and Trainers
All prospective and current BRC Rangers must attend a training each year that they intend to Ranger on playa to refresh their skills and receive that year’s updates. Black Rock Ranger Trainers deliver Ranger trainings across the country, from early May to late August. The Ranger Trainer team is coordinated by the Ranger Training Academy. The Training Academy develops and produces Ranger training materials for new and veteran Rangers, as well as this manual, a short Field Guide, and self-study Advanced Ranger Trainings (ARTs). The Trainers and Training Academy are supported by the Training Logistics team. The 2021 Training Academy is Cobalt!, Fortress, Saturn, and SciFi. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Training Logistics Team
The Training Logistics team assists the Training Academy by organizing and scheduling their trainings, managing printing, and shipping training materials to the sessions. The 2020 Training Logistics Team is Fishfood, Kimistry, and Martin Jay. Email [email protected] for more information.
Troubleshooters are experienced, specially trained Rangers, with proven judgement, dispatched by Shift Command to support and mentor Rangers on the scene with incidents on Playa that warrant extra attention. The Troubleshooter Delegation manages the Troubleshooter team, provides input for command trainings, and collaborates with Shift Command on formulating the procedures that keep Rangers effective on Playa. The 2020 Troubleshooter Delegation consists of HarleyQuinn, Hazelnut, Kendo, Siggo, Uncle John, and consulting members from Command Cadre. Questions and comments through: ranger-troubleshooter-
Volunteer Coordinators (VCs) are usually the first people applicants come into contact with, and are always available to veterans with ideas and concerns. VCs field inquiries from prospective Rangers and get them started with the process of becoming a Ranger. In addition, VCs manage a broad and diverse number of projects and off-playa functions such as staff credentials, tickets, early arrival, and parking passes, Thank You cards, radio handle assignments, and Ranger schwag. They also work to connect volunteers with off-playa tasks.
The VCs work year-round to ensure that individual Rangers’ opinions and suggestions are considered and that Rangering continues to be a rewarding activity through assessing recruitment and retention issues. The Volunteer Coordinators are most active pre-and post event. The VCs are quite often where Ranger volunteers first start contributing back to improving the overall Ranger organization. The VC Cadre for 2020 is Firecracker, Jelly Doughnut, Miss Piggy, and Threepio. Contact [email protected] with questions or comments.
Who We Are and Where We Came From
Traditionally, rangers protect life and natural environments. They patrol an expanse of land, and are members of one or more regional communities. Historically, rangers were an alternative to local or federal law enforcement who patrolled vast, sparsely-populated territories (e.g., the Texas Rangers, Arizona Rangers, etc.).
In 1992, Danger Ranger founded the Black Rock Rangers. The Rangers served a search-and-rescue function in the Black Rock Desert before Burning Man had fences or streets, finding lost participants and returning them to their camps. This search-and-rescue function expanded to include life-safety issues in Black Rock City. Since the beginning of the event, the city has grown in size and population. In 1996, several accidents and incidents gave rise to concerns about community safety. One result was the establishment of new community standards in 1997 regarding citizen behavior (especially around motor vehicles and firearms). As the population of BRC grows larger and more diverse, the role of the Rangers is becoming more critical than ever before.
Today, the Black Rock Rangers are a broad cross-section of the Burning Man community who volunteer some of their time in the role of non-confrontational community mediators. They are empowered by the community and the Burning Man board to address safety concerns, mediate disputes, and resolve conflicts when they cannot be resolved by the persons involved. Rangers encourage a community of shared responsibility.
Responding to the ever-changing environment, Rangers address situations within their community that might otherwise require outside intervention. By encouraging and facilitating communication, Rangers promote awareness of potential hazards, from sunstroke to tent fires. Through their radios and shift briefings, Rangers carry the latest information to the citizens of Black Rock City. The Rangers’ primary concern is the safety of people, not property.
Rangers work with all participants, as well as emergency services and law enforcement agencies, to help facilitate a positive experience. When needed, Rangers support the tenets of the community and help participants remember their obligation to each other by enforcing its principles. Rangers use non-confrontational communication whenever possible to encourage cooperation and help create a safe environment.
When we asked Rangers to describe Ranger culture, most of the answers we got back were from the perspective of how we might be perceived in the community of Black Rock City. For example:
“I give my time, offer my presence, and use skillful means to nudge my beloved Burning Man community toward the actual fulfillment of our stated Ten Principles.”
Other examples included being a sober friend at the party, holding back your hair as you throw up, comforting you during heartbreak and sadness, de-escalating conflict, being your grounding influence when you are experiencing an individual reality, and, inevitably, helping you find your camp and/or the nearest porta potties.
These responses, in and of themselves, define one of the key characteristics of Ranger Culture: “It’s not about us”. Ranger Stonebeard offered: “I can think of pieces of Ranger culture. Direct communication. Strong work ethic. Friendliness. Kilts. Openness about feelings. Level-headedness. Bacon. Openness to newcomers. Fondness for gadgetry. Dislike of gopeds. Storytelling and keeping old anecdotes alive. These are all part of Ranger culture…”
There were numerous references to bacon, as well as “I’m not going to tell you don’t do it, and I’m going to stand here with a fire extinguisher the entire time you are doing it.”
Other pieces of Ranger Culture include a certain amount of reflective navel gazing, and consensus model of operating—sometimes this is a little opaque, but that’s why we need the navel gazing. To Stonebeard’s list, we can add a desire to improve, to get better at what we do and how we do it and to see everyone in our Ranger family grow, learn, and get better at Rangering.
In the spirit of growth and getting better, we invite feedback on defining Ranger Culture (email [email protected]).
Social capital describes the trust and confidence that participants, staff, law enforcement, and medical personnel have in the Rangers, our “street cred.” Social capital is our sole source of authority in the city; it is what we run on. Without the confidence of participants and staff, we would be unable to function effectively.
The Black Rock Rangers have cultivated our social capital with participants and staff through our reputation, credibility, and effectiveness. We do this by helping participants in trouble, treating everyone with respect, and acting professionally and with integrity, thus we have, over time, built up a lot of social capital.
Because of the Rangers’ social capital, participants and staff will listen to you in a way that they would not listen to a random participant offering advice or asking them to change their behavior. Law enforcement, medical, and other departments will often seek your assistance and pay attention to your input.
When Rangers are perceived as helpful, effective, collaborative, professional, and impartial (i.e., high social capital), we will be listened to, taken seriously, and trusted.
When Rangers are perceived as authoritarian, uptight, entitled, unprofessional, or incompetent (i.e., low social capital), we will be ignored or resisted.
Adding to or Subtracting from Our Social Capital
Social capital is like a bank account: every good interaction you have with a participant or staff member makes a deposit into our social capital account, and every bad interaction withdraws from it. Unfortunately, bad interactions with Rangers often make good stories, so participants will tend to tell all their friends when they’ve seen a Ranger acting unprofessional or authoritarian. When you do good, you make a small deposit in our account; when you do bad, you make a huge withdrawal. We expect every Ranger to act as an ambassador and an educator, both to participants and to other staff. When out in the city or on a call, talk to participants and staff about what we do and why we do it. Let them know that we’re here for them, and show them by your actions that we are a resource they can trust.