With a whoosh and a blast of heat and flame, this year's Fire Arts Festival roared into life Wednesday night in West Oakland.
The popular annual event is in it's eighth year and is organized by Oakland-based non-profit educational arts collective The Crucible.
A mind boggling array of chrome and flames is on hand for "pyrophiles" who are drawn to the event each year like moths to a flame. This year's festival features a spellbinding collection of art and performance pieces, most of which include fire as a major element.
Among the interactive attractions this year is a flamethrower shooting gallery, a 40-foot tall Steampunk Tree House that's done duty at Burning Man, complete with steam whistles, and a tire swing. For lovers of electricity there's a giant Tesla coil throwing electric sparks through the air, and appearances by the daring aerialists of Trapeze Arts.
Organizers call it the largest collection of outdoor fire artwork on the West Coast. Proceeds benefit The Crucible's arts education programs for youth and adults.
The Crucible's Fire Arts Festival is located near the West Oakland BART station, and runs through Saturday night.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.