As the week that Burning Man traditionally takes place draws closer, the U.S. Department of the Interior has announced a series of regulations pertaining to a “rogue” event.
COVID-19 has forced the annual gathering’s organizers to postpone for the second year in a row. Many burners (the colloquial term for attendees) saw this as an opportunity to travel out to the desert and have their own burn. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), however, discouraged those hopes with a series of regulations governing what can go on at an impromptu event back in June.
The Department of the Interior, the federal agency that manages the BLM, echoed the department’s restrictions today, August 18th, 2021. In a document posted to the Federal Register, the department outlined its “Temporary Restrictions of Specific Uses on Public Lands within the Black Rock Desert.”
The restrictions apply from August 18th to 11:59PM on October 31st, 2021. According to the document, the goal of the restrictions is to “protect public safety on public lands both within and adjacent to the Black Rock Desert playa.”
Among the restrictions is a ban on laser beams and flame effects, which are common features of large-scale art pieces and art cars during the weeklong event. The biggest restriction is the ban on structures, though. “A structure is defined as construction, placement, or organization of parts, pieces, or objects that are not intended for sleeping, cooking, or protection from the elements, such as shade tents.” In effect, this regulation bans the large-scale art for which Burning Man is known.
Beginning as a small gathering on Baker Beach in San Francisco in 1986, Burning Man has since grown into a festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada that attracts around 80,000 people annually.