Dominic Tinio, the environmental restoration manager of the Burning Man festival, is tasked with restoring the Black Rock Desert to its pristine state after the event concludes. This year’s cleanup was particularly challenging due to torrential rainstorms that transformed the playa soil into thick mud, stranding 74,000 attendees. Despite the unprecedented circumstances, Tinio remains optimistic about meeting the stringent “leave no trace” standards the festival abides by, ensuring that the desert appears untouched after the week-long celebration.
- Burning Man’s “leave no trace” philosophy means all attendees must carry out their garbage. However, the aftermath of the festival still sees remnants of trash referred to as “matter out of place” or “moop.”
- Dominic Tinio, known as “Dark Angel” or DA, has been attending Burning Man since 1997 and took charge of the cleanup crew in 2000 when the festival had 25,000 attendees.
- This year’s festival was made more challenging by heavy rainstorms that turned the desert into mud, trapping many attendees. Despite the challenges, Tinio and his team are committed to restoring the Black Rock Desert to its natural state.
- The cleanup process involves a team of 175 to 200 people conducting a line sweep of the desert. The Bureau of Land Management will inspect the site a month after the festival ends, ensuring that debris doesn’t exceed one square foot per acre.
- Tinio’s experience over the years has helped him develop a keen sense of how to restore the land, likening it to a mix of “CSI and archeology.” He remains confident in the Burning Man community’s commitment to the “leave no trace” ethos, even as the event has grown in popularity and scale.