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BLM says too much trash was left after Burning Man

Updated December 28, 2018 - 9:38 pm

RENO — Federal officials have informed organizers of the Burning Man counter-culture festival in Nevada that they left too much trash behind after the 2018 event.

However, Burning Man organizers said they passed an environmental inspection and plan to undergo an additional review in the spring.

The Winnemucca office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management which oversees the Black Rock Desert north of Reno where the festival is held every summer, said one of the areas inspected had seven times more litter than land managers allow for the event, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

Burning Man participants are expected to clean up the desert playa. And after the event, Burning Man typically deploys a team of volunteers and staff to deal with any remaining litter.

Still, federal land managers say some areas had too much trash.

Burning Man’s contract stipulates that no more than 1 square foot of debris per acre can be left behind after the event.

The area where a human effigy is burned had nearly 7 square feet of trash after the event, according to the BLM.

The debris did not include a 747 airplane that was converted into a nightclub then left at the site for weeks after the festival was held about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Reno.

“The playa is a site that everybody likes to enjoy. We want to keep it that way,” BLM Winnemucca spokesman Fernando Pitones said.

The BLM declined to say whether Burning Man would face a penalty.

Event organizers say they passed an environmental inspection after the 2018 event but noted that BLM inspectors found higher than expected debris at several locations.

“In December, BLM asked Burning Man to conduct a second, very limited inspection this coming spring, which we plan to do,” Burning Man said in a statement.

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