Hello from Playa Restoration, where the dust has subsided and we can finally see. As of day three, we still haven’t had a full day’s work due to a little rain, but we’re churning along quickly anyways.
To review, Day One of Resto was a three-quarters day. Day Two was a half day. Day Three was a day off due to weather, so it doesn’t count, so Day Four Is Day Three — which also ended up being a half day due to weather. Still, look what Resto got done:
Your line sweep crews finished MOOPing the back blocks, from 6:45 and out to 10:15 beyond the city grid. Then they started at 6:30 between Esplanade and C, and made it all the way to 10. And then! They moved through 6:30 to 7:30 between C and G … because that was the clearest, non-dustiest spot on-playa to be.
Out in the field, cones mark hot spots Special Forces hone in on and “kill” (make clean). Special Forces are moving one half a block at a time, because of the ominous clouds this Day Three morning.
Bobtuse has to bust dunes at Point One, but can’t do it ‘til we’re gone, because he might make a whiteout with the dunebuster swishing playa everywhere. So he’s going to kill his own cones, and if they’re too MOOPy he’ll call in Special Forces or even a line sweep. Bobtuse then gives directions about where it’s safe for Special Forces to start painting the playa with their truck wheels by un-driving the roads, making efforts to even out any ruts caused by vehicles driving in rain.
Bustin Dustin, who has an even more specialized job within Special Forces, started checking art points today — visiting the big sculpture sites and assessing whether he can sweep the area alone or needs to call Special Forces to help. Later the Resto crew will line-sweep the open playa, so it’ll go a lot faster if it’s clear of these hot spots.
In case readers at home are curious, when a Line Sweeper encounters a hot spot on the line, they call for an Oscillator by raising their MOOP stick in the air. The line’s designated Oscillator comes over in their truck with brooms, rakes, magnet rakes, shovels, and cans. Or, if the spot is so hot it’d hold up the line to try to tackle it, the Oscillator cones it for Special Forces to visit.
These are the cones Special Forces kills. Upright cones mark the MOOPy dunes they’ll have to go through by hand; laid-down cones mark the non-MOOPy dunes Bobtuse can drag and bust mechanically.
Often there is a ‘seeker,’ as playa Restoration Manager D.A. calls them, posted up in the front of the line, opposite the Oscillator behind the line, armed with a landscaping rake, prepping and splitting up dunes and serpentines for the oncoming line.
Line sweeps keep their MOOP separate from infrastructure trash or placement flags, so Resto can document how much MOOP there was. Special Forces and Oscillators both carry cans in the back of their trucks: red for DPW’s personal trash, green for playa, and grey for MOOP.
Special items line sweepers find will often try to get them to Playa Info so the person it belongs to can be reunited with it. Why, just today, DPW Power manager Easygoin’, who met fellow line sweeper Mrs. Pants out here and married her, mooped a wedding ring he’s about to try to see about returning to its burning wife or hubby.
(UPDATE: The ring, as it turns out, was not engraved with Gaelic for wedding reasons but instead, it seriously has Elvish writing on it and some Resto crewmembers are fairly certain it may be the One Ring to Rule Them All And In The Darkness Bind Them. Easygoin’ said something about packing up and leaving Resto with Mrs. Pants to head to Mount Doom and throw the ring in a volcano … then he disappeared.)
A feeling is growing within the ranks, of both familiarity and pride. We have done this for a while now. We have learned many lessons. We can do it faster and better than ever before. We are good at this.
By ‘we,’ once again, we mean the citizens of Black Rock City. Both D.A. and Phoenix Firestarter, head of Special Forces, agree that this may be one of the cleanest years out here, possibly ever. And that’s not blowing smoke. That’s because of y’all.
Resto’s job is to support the Burning Man community’s Leave No Trace effort but we can’t do it for y’all. So give yourselves a hand; results show that so far in 2016, Black Rock City has cause to (tentatively) congratulate itself. We’re learning this LNT routine well, and hopefully radiating it outwards to others who could use an efficient way to clean up their favorite public lands.
Here in the Black Rock Desert, Day Three of Resto started with a pop-up storm cloud over Granite peak in the western mountain range. The weather’s gotten colder, and there were rolling whiteouts all day, but no brownouts. Our resident mariner and amateur weather expert KLouie consulted with DA about what the sky was about to do. The big water wasn’t supposed to come ‘til 1pm.
That rain cloud broke up over the mountain soon after the consultation. Half an hour later, here came the wind, bringing dust, and KLouie called on the radio for a face-to-face with D.A., meaning he was having doubts. The system just shifted in two minutes, prompting KLouie — who was looking at the flag on Stinger’s truck for wind direction — to say we may be OK again. We’re getting near-missed by a storm that’s just right over there, he says.
They collectively made the decision to stay, then — you guessed it — maybe 15 minutes later the wind changed again, another cloud formation popped up, and water from the sky came out of nowhere.
So D.A. re-altered plans and we loaded up in maybe 30 seconds and hightailed it to the shoreline in an increasing rain, evacuating fast enough not to get stuck — a fleet of buses Mad Max-ing across the desert (in sleet now) neck-in-neck at a blistering 35mph.
And yes. We know what you’re looking for. Day Three’s MOOP map report is similar to always: Green swaths with some yellow and even less red, and a couple boo-boo areas.
Reminder: The MOOP map is a work in progress and things may be updated with changes. We double-check all this data below . After the BLM Site Inspection, all data is correlated and MOOP feedback begins in January. Priority for MOOP feedback goes to red camps. The less MOOPy your camp, the less likely we will have feedback for you. Be advised that MOOP feedback requests do not go to D.A. and the Resto team — contact the Placement team: placement at burningman dot org.
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