MOOP MAP LIVE, Day 5: Special Forces

Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where the DPW Playa Restoration team is steadily marching across the Black Rock City grid.

Drop Dead Ding Dong Darius on the front lines

If you’re just tuning in, it’s been an exciting week. We’ve been talking about theme camps, dance parties and what we the participants leave behind. Yes, there were some big messes in the front part of the city — but there were also many, many green blocks along Esplanade. All in all, it’s an impressive feat of Leaving No Trace.

Today, the Line Sweeps moved inward, off the Esplanade and into the residential blocks. Now the focus is off theme camps, and back to the community at large.

Can the residential camps match up to Esplanade’s performance? Did we, the people of Black Rock City, manage to clean up our own backyards? See for yourself:

Click to enlarge!

Hey, that’s a pretty good job folks. Barring the big yellow zones in the 8:30 area, today was mostly green. The MOOP-happy line sweepers covered 20 blocks, and 88% of the turf was green and clean. 10% was yellow, and only 2% red.

On the Prowl with Special Forces

Pillow Talk and Bustin Dustin

On Tuesday, I showed you how the Line Sweeps deal with “hot spots” or extra-MOOPy areas: They spend a minute or two trying to clean it up, and if it proves too tough, they drop a traffic cone. The hot spot then becomes the domain of Special Forces, the playa’s crack team.

photo by Logan Mirto
Photo by Logan Mirto

The Special Forces job is simultaneously glamorous and maddening. Glamorous, because they cruise across the playa in work trucks and tackle whatever obstacles the MOOP gods throw into their path. Maddening, because Special Forces can’t leave an area until it’s completely free of MOOP. In the case of wood chips, broken glass and other small pieces, that means sitting in one place combing the dirt with your fingers for what can feel like forever. Your intrepid reporter once spent over an hour picking up hundreds of black beans in a three-foot radius. And if it isn’t beans, it’s wood or carpet or staples. Or a four-foot-deep pit of gray water contamination.

Phoenix Firestarter using a magnet rake to pick up metal scrap. Photo by Logan Mirto.

Yes, it’s a tough job, but Special Forces have the tools and the focus to clean up even the MOOPiest spots. What they don’t always have is time. The BLM inspection is now less than a week away, and there’s plenty of MOOP still in the red zones. They’ll clean it up — they always do — but as always, it’s gonna be a challenge.

Love Special Forces’ work? Want to know more about it? Watch this little video:

Coming up next: What was the most common MOOP this year? The answer might surprise you. Tune in tomorrow for the answer. ‘Til then, this is The Hun signing off.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a lifetime commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching as the Man burned on Monday. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

14 thoughts on “MOOP MAP LIVE, Day 5: Special Forces

  • My only question, is if this map says 9-23-11 on it, and today (the day it was posted) is 9-29-11, then you are almost a week behind! Clearly you know the outcome of the moop sweep by now! Just skip up to the current day!

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  • …Reading back I see the actual moop and the spots aren’t kept on the same list. I suppose that figures, since the moop goes into the trash.

    I was wondering about the thin yellow line south side on A at 7:45… It crosses multiple camps, including ours. We had no structures that shape, so it’s kinda weird to see it marked that way.

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  • Restoration question: What to do about small craters?

    So some dumb ass campers (I don’t normally name call, but… they earned it) near us decided to dump some black water on the playa from their rented RV. They were ‘encouraged’ to clean it up — yea, they dug it up and hauled it out. Then they left a small crater when they took off. Thinking that wasn’t too cool, I filled in the crater and stomped on it. I didn’t know what else to do. Is that the right thing to do?

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  • yes filling in the crater is helpful, during the restoration season white outs still occur and the playah fills in those holes. you can’t depend on the weather to help you out, it will turn into a dune unless you fill and stomp the playah down

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  • JDogg – Your appreciation means a lot. Thank YOU.

    Homiesinheaven – I’m glad you approve! It’s good to get this information out there, and it’s fun too.

    Fiver – Patience is a virtue! That’s the day we walked the blocks, but it takes a few days to compile the data and get it onto the map. I’m sure you can find it in yourself to hold on a few days while we do our job.

    Crissa – We tend to document the red zones, but not so much the yellow. Yellow just means that people were walking slowly because there was a fair amount of MOOP, but it’s not the same as, say, an explosion of wood chips. That yellow line is strange, it’s true… I wish I could tell you what it was, but likely it was just a generally MOOPy zone.

    TwoHott – Thank you for helping educate your neighbors!! That is awesome. I really appreciate it, and I appreciate the fact that they went back and cleaned it up themselves! Very cool. As for the crater, you did good. Whatever you can do to heal the playa with the resources you have available — and like Crazy Talk says, holes will turn into messy dunes. Well done. If you ever find yourself faced with a big crater, you can try to find someone with shovels and maybe even some water to help you fill it in.

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  • Oh noes! It looks like there’s a little red blotch in our camp (near 9 & B) but it’s hard to be sure… and we were so careful!

    Is there any way to get an even larger blow-up of the map so we can see the camp boundaries better?

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  • I love hearing about your progress.. I look every day to see if something new is posted.. Wish I could be there!! Keep up the good work, you are very appreciated.. hugs

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  • Xander – Yep, we’ll post a high-resolution copy of the MOOP Map when it’s all said and done. Sorry about the red spot, but don’t worry, that happens sometimes!

    Kaily, Boog & Sunburn Sarah – It is great to feel appreciated! Not a thankless task at all. First of all, we consider ourselves lucky to be here. Second, we know that our work results in being able to come back next year. Third, people like you make a huge difference just by leaving comments! So thank you.

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