Everyday, Burners Without Borders transforms communities through innovative disaster relief programs and community initiatives that make a lasting impact. 



BWB Hurricane Harvey Response Update

Location: - Map It STATUS: Active

Just like with the response to Hurricane Katrina 12 years before which lead to the founding of BWB, the response to Hurricane Harvey during Burning Man was immediate, chaotic, and almost outpaced the ability to organize it. The flood of response from the Burning Man community is so spontaneous, diverse, and widespread it’s hard to keep track of it all. Here’s our best guess reporting update on the multitude of ways Burners Without Borders is already responding to the impacts of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. 
Learn more about what’s already been done, and how you can support our work through donations and volunteering. 
BWB Black Rock City—during the event TK donations collected, volunteers signed up, funds raised. BWB is now able to take tax deductible donations to support our relief efforts, and so far has raised XX cash and XX pledges, totaling TK amount toward a goal of  TK. 

BWB Corpus Christi 

Echoing the ghost of Burning Man 2005, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25, 2017, while the Burning Man event was just finishing its work week.  Before the storm even made landfall, BWB-Corpus Christi was immediately activating both at home in Texas, as well as in Black Rock City.

A resilient community existed in Corpus Christi because of the annual Beach Burns and clean-up events they have been happening seasonally for years.  With a volunteer force ready to take action, and connections with local government and media, BWB-CC set up an incident command system making sure their community was out of harm’s way, and that they were ready to start the recovery process as soon as possible.

While in Black Rock City, Patrick Brown and Jay Guerrero organized volunteers, donations of essential goods and monetary collections at Artica.  Working with theme camps and BMIR, the word went out, and a 30ft box truck of supplies was collected.  Tom Price (Co-founder of BWB) and Carl Sporny took the truck from playa and to the Disaster Camp that was forming in Aransas Pass, Texas.

Since early September, BWB-Corpus Christi set up a basecamp HQ in Aransas Pass for their cleanup & demolition operations. The crew has been cleaning an RV/mobile home park, taking care of first responders and those affected by the hurricane and helping clear the way for utility crews to try to restore water & power. So far, over 3,000 hours of volunteer service have been donated!

Heavy equipment arrived a couple weeks ago, and is being utilized for demolition efforts. Volunteers who serve down there are available to get trained in operating heavy equipment as an option.

The mission of the support “camp” in Aransas Pass is to (1) give out donations to residents (2) offer a mental health support “sanctuary team”, music & cleanup help (3) offer food & portapotties (4) provide comfort and supplies to those in need following the hurricane & flooding.


You get cool Swag if you come to volunteer with BWB!

DPW comes to help with the efforts

Demolition is a large part of the work happening


BWB Austin sent donations on September 3 as well as volunteers to setup a dome in Aransas Pass at the BWB Corpus Christi hurricane relief camp. They had several fundraisers the week before to help as well. They haveset up google signup sheets, one for general volunteers from out of town, a 2nd for sanctuary volunteers to be shared with coastal chapters

BWB North Texas members have donated to 4 different trucks going into effected areas including Pt. Arthur, Beaumont, Houston, Victoria, and Corpus Christi. They also held a fundraiser. CERT trained members connected with volunteer projects like working at the Dallas shelter downtown with 5,000+ evacuees being housed 6 hours drive from the coast and the other who took her schoolbus to Orange to assist with attic rescues & donation distributions. They are gathering a caravan of volunteers to help BWB-Corpus next week. In the mean time they continue to order supplies online & ship them direct with a focus on asking for large tool donations, masks, and so much more.

BWB Houston has existed for less than 2 weeks. In that time they setup a warehouse to distribute donations and act as HQ for cleanup efforts. They were open 24 hours a day for 6 days straight meeting the needs of survivors. Now they’ve transitioned to sending out trailers of pre-boxed care packages of cleaning & personal protections supplies into outlying areas and impacted neighborhoods.


                        Love effigy burn

They were lucky to have their first event facilitated by Southmorehouse Presents and it was really a huge success. They had a powerful team of 60 volunteers help on site and at homes with a total of nearly 600 hours. Four volunteers alone worked around the clock on operations and logistics with more than 400+ hours combined between them.

Our group distributed:
*73 boxes of cleaning supplies, home goods, dried food goods
*40 trash bags of clothes, sheets and blankets
*64 pallets of water
*142 gallons of gas
*3 solar panels
*3 generators
*Helped demo/clean up 8 houses.
*Facilitated a trailer from the Cajun Navy to the city of Baytown and Beaumont.

Note that we are responding as quickly as we can to all inquiries, while key volunteers are still transitioning off the playa and heading south. Please be patient.


This is going to be a long effort, as we transition from immediate relief to the longer recovery efforts. It will be critical to help those communities recover, through the hard work of clearing out debris and damage from homes, as well as taking care of the needs of the community ( like child care and places for education and entertainment ) through the long months ahead. One of the founders of BWB, Tom Price, wrote this right as the storm broke—it’s a good perspective on what to expect, and how you can help:

About Harvey, from someone who spent nine months in gulf coast after Katrina:

-it will get much, much worse. Federal government not built to deliver the scope of aid that will be needed. Private aid CRITICAL.

-distinguish your help between relief and recovery. Relief is a blanket and hot coffee. Recovery is gutting homes to the studs and rebuilding them. Both are important. Completely different scale and timeline.

– predators of all stripes flock to situations like this. Vigilance critical. If you see something that doesn’t feel right, ACT.

– related: anyone in Houston that is on medication of any kind now limited to what they have on hand or on their body. Expect dehydration, hunger, lack of sleep, and anxiety to combine with withdrawal to create very unstable people. Empathy and awareness crucial. People literally won’t be in control of their faculties and may not be able to provide self care or control behavior.

– clothing donations will feel good but overwhelm volunteers. If you are going to send them, make sure they are CLEAN and locationally appropriate- no down coats etc. After a few weeks post Katrina wee were literally bulldozing unneeded donations.

-the exception to this is diapers. They are in short supply, expensive, and if you have had kids you know you can’t go a single day without. We couldn’t keep them in stock ever.

-recovery will take a *long* time, and there won’t be anywhere near enough volunteers. Highest impact aid will be that which enables volunteers to stay in the field. The most fungible tool is cash. Doesn’t have to be massive -organizing dinner parties and raising ~$100 dollars has really impact and value. Generators and modular structures ( carports) also hugely helpful.

– this is a long game. Katrina debris removal still active seven months after the storm. This is order of magnitude worse- expect 2+year recovery.

– mental impact on victims and volunteers will be significant. We are not culturally attuned to this level of damage. Patience and empathy key. They have lost agency and will need space/time to tell/process their story.

-small groups of volunteers ( church’s, Burners Without Borders, etc) can have real impact provided they maintain focus, set/maintain priorities, and are responsive to local needs not their own agenda.

– to reiterate- there is NO state/local/federal entity which is designed or tasked to manage recovery. None. They will be looking to private groups to funnel aid to. The only other option they have is massive contracts which cost enormous amounts ( but can scale ). Both are needed. So if you are part of a group considering going, you should. Expect 2-4 weeks before coordinating bodies set up to manage volunteers.

– if you are going, take everything you need to survive. All of it: food, water, shelter, sanitation, power, everything. Absent that you are a burden or local resources. 


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