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Here is a quick look at the scene on the playa for the first official day of Burning Man.
Andy Barron, Reno Gazette Journal

The lines will be long; making friends

Delays last week caused by federal police increasing traffic stops in and around Nixon, Nevada, urged Burning Man organizers to threaten a federal lawsuit. The Burning Man organizers said the delays would prevent artists, law enforcement officers and security personnel arriving on time at the playa.

But by Saturday, while driving through Nixon on State Highway 447, not a single police presence delayed traffic. In fact, the route was eerily quiet.

Burning Man officially starts at midnight on Saturday, which could change all this.

Early participants who arrived Friday and Saturday – mostly theme camp workers, volunteers and staff – walked to the gate for up to five hours and waited to reach Black Rock City. As soon as general ticketholders hit the gate, these waiting times can be expected to extend to eight or more hours, with a peak between Sunday and Monday, according to data from previous years.

Once the burners arrive, they can expect rolling whiteouts in the gate lines. Visibility was a few meters on parts of the gate line. Keep an eye on the orange cones and do not try to persuade them. The speed limit in line is 10 MPH.

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Strangely cool and airy (and dusty)

Black Rock City, on the other hand, was cool and airy with high visibility all Saturday afternoon with scattered dust, moderate wind and cool air.

Temperatures are not expected to exceed 90. However, bring a layer or eight for nights below 50 degrees. And do not take the 50 degrees as a matter of course. If you have not experienced dry, desert air, it is much more serious than coastal nights. Sudden drops in temperature after a full day in the sun can cause hypothermia for those who are poorly prepared.

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The playa is unmanageable

The playa looks like a dry, creaking skin. Tent poles and reinforcement are far too easy. The flaky soil causes a lot of movement, so make sure that your sticks, reinforcing bars and lag bolts continue to drive carefully so that they do not come loose.

You may have to move them a few times this week or drive extra deep. Some experienced burners have recommended water pouring over tent slopes and reinforcing steel to create a cement-like material. Others used a curved reinforcing bar that penetrated pieces into the ground as they formed a safer, flat piece that protruded from the ground.

The hard surface provides nice bike rides so far, but that could change if cars and cyclists crushed the earth in pieces of muddy sand during the course of the week.

On Saturday, August 25, 2018, early participants will be silent in the Burning Man gate line. Although the line was not that long, it took up to 5 hours for most people to be in Black Rock City. (Photo: Mike Higdon / RGJ)

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