Burning Man attendees are used to getting stinky, dirty and even smoky as the eponymous hombre is eventually torched. But this year their lungs might be exposed to a different kind of smoke, and not the good kind, either.
A Weekly correspondent at the event told us there's no smoke on the “Playa,” at least not yet.
Festival organizers warned participants to expect smoke during the first half of the week, mentioning …
… the occasional inundation of smoke that can irritate your throat, lungs and eyes. People sensitive to such things should take necessary precautions …
But so far such irritating smoke had yet to really fill the air. Reports of a smoke-out in Black Rock seem overblown.
Burning Man spokeswoman Megan Miller told the Weekly:
There's definitely some smoke in the air but last night visibility cleared quite a bit.
It might stay that way. Predicted northwest winds that would have brought smoke from the massive California Rush fire 35 miles away (318,400 acres, 74 percent contained, fire officials told us) have changed like a 40-year-old on shrooms.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jessica Kielhorn told the Weekly that smoke is likely out of the forecast for Black Rock:
As far as smoke form the brush fire, at this time we're not looking for it. We have a south-southwesterly wind, and the brush fire is north-northwest of the Burning Man area. The smoke would probably stay to the north of Burning Man.
Containment on the Rush fire wasn't expected until Thursday, Bureau of Land Management spokesman Jack DeGolia told us:
The smoke, where it's going is not over Burning Man.
The Chips fire (73,193 acres, 71 percent contained) was more likely to blow smoke over the Playa, he said, and fellow BLM rep Claire Delaney confirmed it was “pushing smoke in a lot of different directions.”
Indeed, the NWS' Kielhorn said, “It has been very smoky for weeks in western Nevada.”
But the biggest concern should be winds kicking up in the area, she said, with forecasts of 20 mph gusts and higher:
There will be gusty winds and blowing dust.
That smoke, then? Only the good kind for now.