RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The huge cardboard bins are out and there's dust everywhere outside Reno-Tahoe International Airport. It's that time of year again: the end of the Burning Man Festival and one of the busiest weekends of the year at the airport.
"Everyone thinks about the holidays and all the travel that goes along with that, but Labor Day weekend is a huge weekend for us," says April Conway, spokesperson for the airport. She estimates 18,000 - 20,000 Burners will be making their way through around this time.
A lot of the Burners are feeling dirty and exhausted after spending the last week in the Black Rock Desert.
"I'm actually going to a friend's place and showering there, so I don't have to get on the plane like this," says one dusty Burner.
"I'm going to take a shower. No, a hot bath," says Sasha Sakhar, a Burner visiting from New York City. "I'm so exhausted, I can barely walk."
The airport has prepared for this weekend, when the hordes of Burners bring dust, trash, and bicycles back from the desert.
"We've got bins set up out here," says Conway, referring to the cardboard bins that are labeled for Burners. "Anything that people don't want to take with them or end up being overweight, they can leave in our bins and we've also partnered with the local Kiwanis clubs. If they want to leave their bikes here, the Kiwanis Club will refurbish them and give them out to people in our community."
The airport also takes measures to protect its automated systems.
"We do a lot to help mitigate the dust for a lot of our machinery. Every bag that comes off the Playa goes into an extra plastic bag to get wrapped up, so a lot of the sensing equipment doesn't get mucked up."
Conway advises people who may be flying out this week to have patience. She says with the Best in the West Rib Cook-Off ending Monday and the end of the long Labor Day weekend, Tuesday will be a busy day for departures as well.
"Just know there are going to be long lines and get here as early as you can," says Conway. "Ninety minutes is what we recommend at this point in time."