Burning Man Torched Early
Vandal charged with arson after icon of hedonistic arts festival bursts into flames
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2007 6:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – A San Francisco vandal torched a giant effigy four days before it was slated to burn as part of the annual hedonistic Burning Man arts festival, according to police. The vandal was arrested for arson and possession of fireworks. Most of the 40-foot Man is still standing, and organizers are promising to rebuild it and go ahead with Saturday night's scheduled burn.

Reactions at the festival in the Nevada desert were mixed: "You never saw so many hippies so conflicted," snarked one blogger. The fire started at 3 a.m. yesterday, when many festival goers were gathered to watch the lunar eclipse. As firefighters doused the flames "some people were chanting, 'Let him burn!' and some were chanting, 'Save the man!'" recounted one witness.