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Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 11, Issue 4
December 28, 2006

Here's a special quickie-edition JRS for your year's end...a call for 
participation creating fire pits at San Francisco's Ocean Beach, an 
announcement about several of our staffers who are helping to increase 
Burning Man's political voice, and an open invitation to join the 
Special Events team and have fun creating local Burning Man events in 
San Francisco in 2007!

We wish you and yours a very happy New Year from all of us at Burning Man.

P.S. Hey, 247 days until the burn.... :)



Here's a chance to be a part of a rare and amazing opportunity to help 
design, build, and install fire rings/pits/structures on Ocean Beach in 
the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco! This 
once-in-a-lifetime chance to help create potentially permanent fire art 
installations that will support community building around fires along 
the ocean shore.

A Little Background:

The National Park Service have their hands full, and are woefully 
underfunded. In San Francisco, they were spending $90,000 a year just 
cleaning up the mess left over from fires on Ocean Beach. The problem 
was so severe that earlier in 2006 the Park Service considered banning 
fires outright.

However, thanks to thousands of letters from people like you, they've 
changed their mind, and earlier this month announced a one year 
experiment with continuing to allow fires, but only in designated burn 
platforms/fire rings.  They've partnered with The Surfrider Foundation 
(, a great conservation group made of concerned 
surfers, to figure out what they should look like, and how they should 
be installed.

Recently, volunteers from Burners Without Borders, a group of people 
connected through attending the Burning Man event, dedicated to creating 
community through art and public service 
( began doing monthly beach clean 
ups on Ocean Beach. BWB heard about the fire pit design issue, and 
offered to help. (For those of you that don't know, Burning Man began on 
Baker Beach in 1986, and continued access to fires on the San Francisco 
shore is very near and dear to our heart.)

In a meeting last week, the National Park Service and Surfrider agreed 
to partner with BWB, to take advantage of our expertise in both fire and 
cleaning up after them (Burning Man is the world's largest Leave No 
Trace event) by having BWB manage the submission and award process for 
these fire rings. We're obviously thrilled and honored, and happy to 
help, and our first thought was -- let's get as many people involved as 

The Designs:

There will be a dozen fire pits to begin with. No two designs need to be 
the same, but preference will be given to those that are artistic in 
nature, since people are likely to be more protective of something 
that's attractive--so show us your best stuff!

A couple things to keep in mind:

They should either be too heavy to be removed (400lbs+) or anchored 
beneath the sand in some way. Conversely, they should be removable by 
Park Service heavy machinery during the big storm season of winter.

The designer should keep in mind ease of maintenance including emptying 
ash and debris. Surfrider has offered to help clean them on a regular 
basis, but making it easy to do so is key.

They should have reflective markings on them so that Park Service 
vehicles can see them when driving on the beach at night, and so there's 
no trip/fall hazard.

They should be made of durable materials that can take the pounding from 
the ocean and fire.

They should be no more than six feet across, and should contain all 
flame and ash. (Tip: Concave designs will more efficiently burn wood and 
leave less debris).

They should either not trap drifting, blowing sand, or be easily dug out 
if they do.

But Wait, There's More:

In our meeting with the Park Service last week, one issue that came up 
was concerns about the limited number of fire rings -- since not 
everyone could light a fire, would there be conflicts over who got to 
use them?  The Park Service figured yes, which is why the fire rings are 
to be installed near stairways, to facilitate access for law 
enforcement. It also came up that there aren't really any iconic images 
of Ocean Beach, like there are for, say Chrissy Field or the Golden Gate 

However, it's been Burning Man's experience that fires can actually 
create community, rather than cause tension. In fact, around a fire is 
about the only place where two strangers can stand next to each other in 
silence, and not feel uncomfortable.

So BWB also agreed to help create design multilingual signs for possible 
placement on Ocean Beach, explaining that the fires are a community 
resource, and that everyone will be welcome around them--they won't be 
for exclusive use without getting prior permits from the Park Service. 
Any other time--they're open for anyone to join.

Which means we're also looking for some designs for signage. Messages 
must include:   Anyone is welcome around the fire--find the right vibe,
contribute your fire wood, and make new friends. There will also likely 
be some other regulatory messages regarding appropriate types of wood. 
Another suggestion: Clean It Forward--people should be encouraged on 
arrival at a fire pit to clean out the ash from the previous user, 
before using it themselves. And we're also looking for some nice iconic 
imagery that says "Ocean Beach."  Suggestions as to fabrication 
(materials) and placement of signs are also welcome; keep in mind that 
the Park Service is conservative about signage and generally follows the 
"less is more" approach.


This is going to happen in a big hurry:
Initial proposals should be in by January 14th.
Final designs will be chosen on January 28th.

Fire pits will be installed and lit for the first time in a community 
celebration at dusk, on Earth Day.

It should go without saying, but just to be clear: if you suggest a 
design, you should have the ability to create it, because the Park 
Service can't afford to contract this out.


Which brings up the next point: some funds are available for this 
project, from the Park Service, other stakeholder groups, as well as 
perhaps Burning Man. However, there are a lot of fire rings to make, so 
please include reasonable expected costs in your proposal, and also 
remember the value you'll get from this experience being able to create 
a (semi, perhaps ) permanent work of fire art in a public place.

What do I do next?

Sketch out your design ideas for signs and fire rings, in as much detail 
as possible, and email them to Tom Price at, or 
mail them to him c/o Burning Man, 1900 3rd Street, SF, CA, 94158. 
Questions? Call him at 801-712-5371. Designs must be in by January 
14th--so hurry!  Please include estimates of cost, and obviously 
preference will be given to designs you can manufacture.

Thank you for your participation in helping preserve the right to fires 
on Ocean Beach!

-Tom Price
Burners Without Borders



Burning Man is proud to announce the appointment of several of its staff 
members to various political boards and organizations.

Burning Man Board Member Will Roger Peterson was recently appointed to 
the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Sierra Front-Northwestern Great 
Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC). Will is representing the 
interests of recreational users for issues such as wildlife habitat, 
range permits, wild horses, mineral and geothermal rights, land issues, 
development problems, off-highway vehicle problems, water transfers, 
power plants, trash clean ups, transportation management and various 
other issues. Will's involvement with Friends of the Black Rock 
<>, a non-profit devoted to the 
enjoyment and preservation of the Black Rock NCA, helped him attain his 
position on the RAC.

Joseph has been a Commissioner on the San Francisco Entertainment 
Commission since 2003 and was reappointed again in 2005 for a four-year 
term. As the Public Health Representative on the San Francisco 
Entertainment Commission 
<>, Joseph is heavily 
involved with reviewing the safety of, and permitting, events in the 
City of San Francisco. Joseph has been working in public safety since 
1989 and has been been the Emergency Services Operations Chief for 
Burning Man since 1996.

Manager of Burning Man's Information Technology Department, Heather 
Gallagher is helping shape the future of Treasure Island, the former 
Naval Station in San Francisco Bay that was turned over to the City and 
County of San Francisco by the federal government in 1993. As a Board 
Member on the Citizens Advisory Committee, Heather is advising the 
Treasure Island Development Authority 
<> on issues 
of affordable housing, recreation, arts, commercial redevelopment and 
other various interests.

These appointments will increase Burning Man's voice when it comes to 
matters of land use in Nevada, and arts and entertainment in the San 
Francisco Bay Area. Congratulations to Will, Joseph and Heather!



SAVE THE DATE AND SPREAD THE WORD: Burning Man Special Events Team Open 
Call For Participation Meeting and Mixer Jan 8th, 2007!

Want to get involved and help shape Burning Man events in SF this year?
Then join us at Burning Man Headquarters for a Special Events Team mixer 
and our first planning meeting of 2007!

Last year's January meeting was FANTASTIC and completely shaped 2006 
events and the 11 events currently in the hopper for 2007! We are 
seeking brand spanking new volunteers to add to our amazing team. If you 
are curious about what we do and/or know you'd like to be part of 
year-round Burning Man events, come on by!

Burning Man HQ
1900 3rd St - 2nd floor (between 16th St and Mariposa) San Francisco, CA
7:00pm-9:00pm Bring snacks and an open mind--preferably with a silly hat 
on top!
Please RSVP to, so we know how many to expect

- Mission of team
- Exciting events we have planned for 2007!
- Ways you can immediately plug in and help bring Burning Man to the Bay
- Open discussion/feedback, new event ideas and mixer, as time permits

If you have ideas or suggestions for new venues and cannot come in 
person, e-mail them to We'd love to hear 
from you!

If you'd like to be added to our Special Events volunteer announce list,

Happy New Year! And thanks for keeping the fires burning all year long!

$teven Ra$pa
Burning Man Special Events Team & Regional Outreach


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