Burning Man organisers say they won't challenge the US Bureau of Land Management's plans to cap their attendance at current levels under a new 10-year permit but will fight any push for federally-sanctioned screenings for weapons and drugs at the counterculture celebration.
The bureau proposed in a final environmental-impact statement (EIS) that a private security firm eventually be hired to screen all vehicles, participants, vendors, contractors, staff and volunteers on entry to the temporary Black Rock City in the northern Nevada desert, 161km north of Reno.
Burning Man organisers said that would subject "a peaceable gathering of people to searches without probable cause other than a desire to attend Burning Man".
"This is one requirement we are prepared to push back on," the group said, adding it would be a "massive shift from Burning Man's 30-year history running our own operations".
Group leaders assured fellow Burners in the post that screenings would not begin in 2019, and bureau officials said they did not foresee any major changes to its law-enforcement routine this year.
"These procedures will be carried out in a manner similar to previous Burning Man events," bureau spokesman Rudy Evenson told the Reno Gazette Journal.
The EIS issued June 14 is subject to 30 days of public review before the bureau can issue a formal record of decision.
Bureau officials have been careful to call the security measures screenings, which they insist are different from searches.
"When you get on an airplane, everyone is screened, but only a few people have bags opened after the belt," Evenson said.
The final EIS, which details event conditions for the next decade, will cap annual attendance at 80,000.