When 68,000 or so participants converge on Nevada's Black Rock Desert this week to get the Burning Man fire arts gathering raging, things could get weird. They usually do.
And if anyone ends up getting hurt or ill—what with the displays of art pieces using flames and pyrotechnics; the interactive art installations, like last year's Astroturf slide; the clothing-optional policy; and the punishing desert weather—employees of Humboldt General Hospital will be there to help.
The 52-bed hospital in rural Winnemucca, Nev., holds the long-term contract to provide medical services to the artists, partiers, hipsters and nonconformists who gather each August on about five square miles of federally owned land to camp, express themselves and build an anti-establishment community they call Black Rock City. Last year, Burning Man organizers spent $455,024 on medical services and supplies, according to a budget posted on the group's website.