Thousands of people who attended the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert are still unable to leave the site after heavy rain turned the ground into a muddy mess. The festival, which ended on Sunday, September 3, 2023, was hit by a rare storm that dumped up to 0.8 inches of rain in 24 hours, creating ankle-deep mud that sticks to shoes and tires.
The rain forced the organizers to close the gate and the airport of Black Rock City, the temporary metropolis that hosts the festival, and to issue a shelter-in-place order for the 70,000 attendees. The organizers also advised the participants to conserve food, water and fuel, as they do not know when the roads will be dry enough for vehicles to navigate safely.
Some attendees tried to hike out of the site on foot, carrying their belongings and braving the slippery mud and cold weather. Others stayed at their camps, hoping for the sun to return and dry the ground. Many expressed their frustration and disappointment on social media, as they missed their flights, work or other commitments.
The festival also witnessed a death on Saturday, which is under investigation by the local authorities. The cause of death has not been disclosed yet, but it is not believed to be related to the weather conditions.
Burning Man is an annual event that celebrates art, music and self-expression in a remote area of northwest Nevada. The festival is known for its elaborate installations, costumes and performances, as well as its principles of radical inclusion, self-reliance and leave no trace.
The organizers said they are working with the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to monitor the situation and reopen the roads as soon as possible. They also thanked the attendees for their patience and cooperation.