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California and the West

7 Nudists Burned During Fire Walk

August 09, 2000|BETTINA BOXALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Their feet were bare--it was, after all, the annual convention of a North American nudist organization. But the fire walking didn't go quite as planned.

Seven people are recovering from burns suffered when they marched across hot coals as part of a weekend fund-raising event for the American Assn. for Nude Recreation in eastern San Diego County.

"It's very unfortunate that a wonderful weeklong convention ended this way," said Robert T. Page, the association's general counsel. "Obviously, I think something went wrong."

Page said the seven--two women and five men--suffered second-degree burns on the bottom of their feet Saturday, but that all are recovering.

One man, who went into shock, was taken by helicopter to UC San Diego Medical Center. The others were taken to hospitals by ambulance.

The weeklong convention, the association's 69th, attracted about 900 people to DeAnza Springs Resort near Jacumba.

Page said he believes this was the first time the group had staged a fire walking event.

Two couples and three men, including former or current officials of the association, walked the coals to raise funds for the group, which Page said has about 50,000 members in the United States and western Canada and is the oldest of its kind in the country.

In addition to conducting association business, the group holds a number of clothing-free social and recreational activities at its conventions.

This year, there was volleyball, painting and pottery. Last year, Page said, a team went skydiving, wearing parachutes, boots and nothing else.

Normally, the only burns members have to worry about are sunburns. "We encourage liberal applications of high-value SPF [sun protection factor]," Page said.

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