Putting your skills to work locally makes a ton of sense. It's quite likely that you could get in on a local build/local planning.
Volunteer opportunities are also here:http://www.burningman.com/participate/volunteer.html
Note: most departments rely primarily on 2nd year attendees (or older) because it's very typical for new folks to arrive at the Burn and either be overwhelmed by heat, altitude, or overstimulation, making them slightly less reliable than returning Burners. There's also something to be said for having greater freedom your first Burn (especially if you are committed to a camp, which I promise you: is already sufficient commitment).
However, Lamplighters is one of several exceptions, and pre-registration is not required. Lamplighting is a daily walk-up opportunity located typically on Rod's Road in Center Camp. Show up just before 5pm, learn how to clean and fill and carry the lamps, don a robe, and then be part of the procession either carrying or lifting the lamps. Several hours total and you're done . . . and then there's a nightly sangria party afterward.
Welcome to the board.