BERLIN (AP) — An Austrian town has burned what organizers says is the world’s tallest bonfire, at 198.97 feet (60.646 meters).
The local bonfire group in Lustenau, near the Swiss border, took three months to build the structure. It burned down in less than half an hour Saturday evening. The previous record structure was a 154.2-foot bonfire in Alesund, Norway in 2016.
When it receives the torch, the “Man” at Burning Man typically stands about 40 feet above the Black Rock Desert playa or about 1/5th the height of Lustenau’s new record blaze.
Western Austria has a tradition of bonfires called “Funken,” or sparks. It’s believed to go back to pagan times when people lit fires to banish winter and welcome the arrival of spring.
The big bonfire drew criticism from members of the Green party and the Austrian Association for the Protection of the Alps, which said it was “the wrong signal” at a time of concern about climate change.
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