The weather is always a huge factor at Burning Man, the week-long festival in the middle of the Black Rock Desert of Nevada – and this year's looks like being the hottest ever. Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday are expected to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38C).

"A lot more will be burning than just the wooden figure," quipped Mark Deutschendorf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Reno. He said he believed the only time the temperature has ever exceeded 100 on an actual festival day was in 2007.

Burning Man 2017
Burning Man 2017
Burning Man 2017
Burning Man 2017
Burning Man 2017

The high temperatures have already caused headaches for the organisers. Highway 447, the main road into the site, has been closed because of a wildfire, and is expected to remain closed for up to 12 hours. Most festival-goers are already at Black Rock City, but organisers advise anyone still planning to travel to postpone their departures. To make things worse, "Smoke Creek Road, which has sometimes been used as an alternative, is impassable as a result of recent storm damage."

Burning Man 2017
People at Burning Man look out from a tower as smoke from a wildfire obscures the sunsetJim Urquhart/Reuters

The extreme conditions mean that Burning Man is not for the faint of heart – as the website puts it: "The Black Rock Desert is trying its best to kill you". Festival-goers are required to bring goggles and particle filters to protect against dust storms.

Burning Man 2017
The Man is obscured as a dust storm blows across the desertJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
An art car named Snailoon drives through a desert dust stormJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People walk around an art installation during a dust stormJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
A cyclist is engulfed by a dust storm blowing across the Black Rock DesertJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Kai Rey of Sebastopol, California dances alone in the Field of Fairies art project to the sound of music from distant art carsJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People cycle past the Thunderbirds art project by James Tyler in the midst of a dust stormJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Performers stage a shibari rope bondage scene inside a heart-shaped art installation during a desert dust stormJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Revellers dance to the music of an art car in the midst of a desert dust stormJim Bourg/Reuters

Around 70,000 people experience Burning Man every year, living at the campsite metropolis known as Black Rock City. Made up of trailers and recreational vehicles parked in a precise layout, Black Rock City has named streets, a cinema, temples and even its own airport – but no shops. Money is outlawed at the festival, so revellers must bring everything they will need for the week-long rave, described as "where Mad Max meets Woodstock".

This year's theme is "Radical Ritual: Spirit and Soul", an attempt to reinvent ritual in our post post-modern world. Participants are invited to create interactive rites, ritual processions, elaborate images, shrines, icons, temples, and visions. As the organisers put it: "Our theme will occupy the ambiguous ground that lies between reverence and ridicule, faith and belief, the absurd and the stunningly sublime."

Burning Man 2017
Pili Montilla poses in front of the Tree of TénéréJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People ride a mutant vehicle across the PlayaJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Lauren Rock reacts as she and her fiancee Bob Peterson of San Francisco are pronounced married by artist Nino AliceaJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Lauren Rock throws her bouquet after she married Bob Peterson in front of the Mucaro owl art project that they worked on with artist Nino AliceaJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Kylie Webb of Santa Cruz, California spins inside a metal hoop on a roller disco floorJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People travel on a mutant vehicle at sunsetJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Kila Carr-Ince makes her way through Black Rock CityJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Participants interact with the art installation Interspecies Communication, a kinetic-musical-sculpture of metal birds and fishJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
A participant drives an art car at Burning ManJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People travel on a dragon-inspired mutant vehicleJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People stand around one of Burning Man's many mutant vehiclesJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Participants guide an art piece across the PlayaJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Chung Huynh of South Dakota visits the effigy of The Man wearing a helmet that he worked on for three weeksJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Participants dressed in animal costumes perform on the art installation The PierJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
A masked reveller dances at Burning ManJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Just another day at Burning ManJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Revellers dance on and around The Penetrator art car near the effigy of The ManJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Jen Van Schmus plays kickball on the PlayaJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Two women escort a mutant vehicle on the PlayaJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Joshua "Kanizzle" Cunningham of Burning Man Information Radio gives a running commentary on people's costumes or lack thereofJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Marshall Mosher from Atlanta surfs through the desert on a motorised surfboard on wheelsJim Bourg/Reuters

The festival's site, on a dried-up lake bed, is dotted with innovative artworks, plus several giant wooden structures that are burned each night of the festival. Burning Man ends with the burning of the huge wooden effigy that gives the event its name.

You can see more of Burning Man's structures and artworks, and watch a livestream from the festival – including the burning of The Man – here.

Burning Man 2017
People look at an art installation called Ursa MaterJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Over 200,000 American and Canadian pennies make up the art installation Ursa MaterJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Participants gather in the shade of the art installation Tree of Ténéré, a lifelike sculpture with 15,000 glowing LED leavesJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
A couple is married under the Tree of Ténéré art installationJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People interact with a fire installationJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People pose on an art installationJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People gather at The Temple of AwarenessJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
People read letters and memorials to loved ones left in the Temple by festival-goersJim Urquhart/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Cole Wardley of Salt Lake City plays a Baby Grand piano inside the Heardt art projectJim Bourg/Reuters
Burning Man 2017
Burning Man 2017
Revellers look at the Man, a sculpture that dominates the festival site until it is set alight on the final nightJim Urquhart/Reuters