RENO, NV - As burners pass through town en route to the Black Rock Desert, they're making a difference in our community. Burning Man impacts Reno in at least five ways.
1. Burning man feeds the local economy
2. Increases to tourism
3. Impacts traffic
4. Encourages green lifestyle
5. Fuels creativity
Each year, burners leave civilization to build a temporary one in the desert, but when they go through Reno, they don't go unnoticed.
Burners spend on average $1,500 to $2,000 each year and with 68 thousand Playa-bound burners this year, businesses are ready to cash in.
"A lot of guests come in before and after the burn and it really impacts our hotel, whether it be food, hotel room stays, the spa, there's a lot for them to do here," said Tracie Barnthouse, a spokesman for the Atlantis Casino Resort.
For many of them it's a global trek. Burning Man draws in a large, diverse crowd.
"Every time I met someone from another country, I ask them, 'did you happen to be in the country or did you just come for Burning Man' and every single one of them said 'No, I came just for Burning Man,'" said Rexx Thomas from Portand, OR. She's been a burner for the past eight years.
With that many people and only a few routes to the desert, traffic will be heavy this weekend. NHP has increased staffing to ensure a safe journey there and back.
"You'll have State Route 447 and I-80 covered with cars from Burning Man with a lot playa dust, so they'll be driving really slow, so plan for that and leave a little bit early."
Their makeshift city is self-sufficient. They like everything picked up, leaving no trace.
What's Burning Man without the art? Burners pride themselves on self-expression.
"People at Burning Man hold each other of high standard of being capable and when all those limits are removed, you see humanity at its finest," said Thomas.
"The fact that I get to a tiny speck, a part of it, is just a beautiful concept," said Aryiel Hartman from Los Angeles. "I think that's what keeps me coming back."
Burning Man starts Sunday night.