Burning Man attendance in Black Rock Desert sets record

The Associated Press
Saturday September 14, 2002

RENO, Nev. — For a few days last month, Nevada’s seventh largest “city” was in the Black Rock Desert. 

The Bureau of Land Management said on Friday that attendance at this year’s Burning Man event was a record, with 29,083 people tallied on Aug. 30. 

The rest of the year, Elko is the seventh largest city with 16,708 people, according to the 2000 Census. Carson City is sixth at 52,457. 

The BLM said attendance was up 14 percent from last year. 

Burning Man organizers pay the BLM $4 per person. The agency said the $572,000 collected would about equal the costs of administering the annual desert outing 100 miles north of Reno.  

The collections would equate to 143,000 people who attended the 7-day event. 

The playa where Black Rock City is located has reopened after being temporarily closed for the event. Workers are cleaning up the area, which will be inspected by the BLM early next month. 

Burning Man organizers were commended by the BLM earlier this year for their thorough cleanup efforts. 

“Burning man is the largest ‘leave no trace’ event in the world,” said Terry Reed, field manager of BLM’s Winnemucca office. 

“We have found no evidence of environmental damage caused by past Burning Man events and we don’t expect to find any this year.” 

Along with the attendance, the 239 citations issued by BLM rangers was up this year, the agency said. Of those, 136 were for drug related offenses. Of the 1,288 patient visits to the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority, 22 were drug related and 10 involved alcohol. 

Most of the visits, which were up 25 percent from last year, were related to heat, sun exposure and dehydration. Twenty-four patients were taken to Reno for treatment of head injuries and broken bones.