Tens of thousands of people attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert are being told to conserve food, water and fuel as they seek shelter in the Black Rock Desert after heavy rains battered the area, festival organizers said.
Attendees found their campsites replaced by thick, ankle-deep mud and organizers stopped moving in or out of the festival after heavy rain began to lash the area on Friday evening. Some festival-goers walked miles to reach major roads, while others hoped the storms forecast to hit the area overnight would not worsen the situation.
Hannah Burhorn, who attended the ceremony for the first time, told CNN in a telephone interview Saturday that the desert sand had turned into thick clay and puddles and mud were everywhere. People wrap trash bags and ziplock bags around their shoes to avoid getting trapped, while others walk barefoot.
“It’s inevitable at this point,” he said. “It’s in the bed of the truck, inside the truck. As it is ankle deep, people who tried to cycle through it got stuck.
The entrance gate and airport to Black Rock City, a remote area in northwestern Nevada, are closed, and no vehicles are allowed in or out of the city except for emergency vehicles. Organizers said at XThe social media platform was formerly known as Twitter.
“Don’t travel to Black Rock City! Access to the city is closed for the remainder of the event and you will be turned away,” a statement read.
more than 70,000 people attend the week-long event Annually, this year it takes place from August 28 to September 4. It is not clear how many of them were stranded due to the weather.
City organizers said more rain is expected Saturday night Weather forecast update. The National Weather Service Showers and thunderstorms are expected to return Saturday evening and continue through Sunday, with highs in the 70s and a low of 49 degrees overnight. Forecasts show the area will warm up and dry out with clear skiing and a high of 75 degrees when the event ends on Monday, Labor Day.
Rainfall reports from the National Weather Service said up to 0.8 inches of rain fell from Friday morning to Saturday morning — about two to three months of rain at this time of year. Even small amounts of rainfall can lead to flooding in the arid Nevada desert.
A flash flood watch was in effect for northeastern Nevada east of Black Rock City. Those watches call for individual storms to produce up to an inch of precipitation, but higher amounts — up to 3 inches — are possible over the weekend.
The Bureau of Land Management, which has jurisdiction over the land where the festival takes place, is advising people visiting Burning Man to “go back home” as roads in the area are closed. Reno Gazette-Journal.
“Due to the rains in the last 24 hours, the playa has come to a complete standstill. “More rain is expected over the next few days, and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa,” the statement said.
The festival, which began in 1986, is held every summer in Black Rock City – a temporary metropolis erected annually for the festival. The city comes fully equipped with planning services, emergency, security and healthcare infrastructure.
It is most famous for its final event where a large wooden effigy of a man is lit. The event attracts tens of thousands of people each year and in the past, celebrities from Sean “Diddy” Combs to Katy Perry have attended.
Tens of thousands of attendees travel to and from the city via the two-lane highway to get to the festival. Its website. The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Burning Man participants dedicate their time to creating art and community. They can learn how to spin fire or pole dance, create abstract art jewelry, or create a giant sculpture of two people embracing and burning it.
Some of the on-site productions for this year’s Burning Man were hit by Tropical Storm Hillary in August, reporting high winds, rain and even desert flooding, according to CNN.
He told CNN that Amar Singh Thugkal and his friends walked about 2 miles through the mud to leave the festival. He estimated it would take them about 2 hours to get to a main road arranged to take them to Reno, about 120 miles southwest of the event grounds.
Seeing that the rain had not abated on Friday night, Dukkal and his friends arranged for a driver to meet them the next morning. Fearing that toilets would stop working and food would run out, they decided to leave, he said.
“We made it, but it was pure hell [walking] Through the mud,” Duggal said. “Every step felt like we had two huge cinderblocks on our feet.”
Amber Kramer, who lives in Kings Beach, California, told CNN she was staying in an RV with her group and “as long as we have food and water, we’re fine.”
“My camp and I are on the roof [of the RV] Trying to make the best of it,” Kramer said. He said he’s worried about those staying in tents because more rain is forecast for the area.
“People with RVs are waiting for another storm, so the camp leaders are asking if there’s room for people with tents,” he said.
Kramer said he saw several people walking around the camp with garbage bags tied to their legs with duct tape to maneuver through the mud.
Burhorn, who traveled from San Francisco, California, added that the mud is so thick that it “sticks to your shoes and makes it look like a boot around your shoe.”
She said she and her friends weren’t expecting any rain — just more heat. People stranded in the desert have limited cell service, making it nearly impossible to get weather reports or updates from festival organizers, Barhorn said.
“It’s purely word of mouth,” he said. “I was on the phone with my boyfriend who gave me a weather update. I said, ‘Can you tell me what’s going on in the news? We have no clue.
Burhorn said the mud is so thick that it “sticks to your shoes and makes it look like a boot around your boot,” making it even more difficult to get around, he added.
The silver lining, Barhorn said, is that people walk from camp to camp to check on others and make sure they have enough food and water. “People are still looking out for each other, it’s like a bubble of love.”
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