Burners beware: the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the U.S. Department of the Interior is conducting intensive vehicle searches with police dogs on Highway 447 in Wadsworth and Nixon. Over the next seven days, 60,000 people will be driving through the Nevada state route towards Black Rock Desert to attend Burning Man.
The festival organizers shared their concerns about these incessant stops, claiming these traffic stops have caused delays for their operational leadership, leading to critical services and infrastructure not being prepared on time. There is no shoulder lane, but trailers and trucks are being unloaded and searched by BIA agents, leaving drivers to reload their vehicles on the side of the road.
Those on their way to the festival have reported being pulled over for reasons such as driving over the posted speed limit, not stopping before the line at a stop sign, crossing into the centerline, license plate checks, no turn signals, and bad lights. BIA agents have reportedly sent in police dogs for rudimentary traffic checks, and Burning Man organizers are calling these checks unconstitutional and overly aggressive. There have also been reports from Burning Man staff, contractors, and volunteers claiming they broke no laws before being stopped and searched.
The festival released this statement as a rebuttal against obvious efforts to target the nine-day gathering:
“The Burning Man organization does not condone any illegal activity. We urge our participants to obey all local, state, and federal laws, and we appreciate the role of law enforcement. We are also, however, very concerned about the current and potential safety and operational impacts of the Bureau of Indian Affairs operation, particularly as we ramp up to our busiest time on site.”
H/T: Burning Man Journal
Photo Credit: BIA Office of Justice Services