21st Post-Yule Pyre. Jan 3rd 2010

Tonight concluded the 21st Post-Yule Pyre on Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The 1st one occurred on January 1990 on the initiative of the Cacophony Society and more specifically Michael Mikel (aka Danger Ranger, who serves on the board of director of Burning Man). The group has started many other events other the past 25 years, including Santacon (or Santarchy) that has spread all around the planet, with a record of 11,000 santas in Dublin in 2009. This year’s Post-Yule Pyre attracted a good 200 people, and probably 50 trees. We all gathered at Java Beach Cafe and walked 4 blocks in the dark night with our trees. People were coming out of their homes wondering what the procession was all about… all these people walking in that dead neighborhood with a tree each in their hands. At the beach all the trees quickly piled up and random people fired different side. In no time the flames were reaching high above the dunes behind us, and we heard the first police siren. The cops did join us, but 5 minutes too late. It was all on fire. After 45 minutes, they finally yelled at us all to move, but while we were all starting to go away, one guy pulled a non-burning tree from the side 100 yards away and put it on fire, then did it again another 3 minutes later, without the cops able to catch anyone. It was fun. They eventually caught 2 people for unknown reasons.

Post-Yule Pyre Guy throwing tree in the fire

Here is what Michael Mikel wrote back in 2007 about the event:

An annual San Francisco tradition occurs at this time of the year, when the last stand of sidewalk fir trees is logged by the Friends of the Rootless Forest and then piled up on the beach for some very rapid composting. Saturday, January 6th. Meet at the Carousel Diner, 2750 Sloat Blvd at 7:00 PM. (Look for the giant Doghead in the middle of the street.) We’ll hang out for half an hour and then head west when the coast is clear. Bring a christmas tree and libations. No glass containers on the beach, you assume the risk, no one is in charge, your mileage may very. And remember; “When fire is outlawed, only outlaws will have fire.”

During the spring equinox of 2007, the Friends of the Rootless Forest will plant an equal number of trees to offset the carbon footprint of climate changing gases that are released into the air by this year’s Post-Yule Pyre. After playing with fire on the beach, we will take up the torch for a much greater cause. This is a Leave No Trace event. All of the ashes from our ecstatic celebration will be removed within 24 hours

Flickr Pool Slideshow of many Post-Yule Pyres available here.
More info on Santacon: http://blog.burningman.com/?p=6196
Link to Michael Mikel: http://twitter.com/danger_ranger

Post-Yule Pyre 2010 Beginning of the burn

Post-Yule Pyre Fire

Post-Yule Pyre Cross

Post-Yule Pure Cops

© Cyril Gitton. (Photo by)


  1. Renee & Bil

    This was sooo cool! I grew up out here and have never heard of this! What a terrific way to express kicking out the old year and blazing in the New Year!! Want to experience next year.

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