Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to take shelter at the Burning Man festival in the remote Black Rock Desert after a storm wreaked havoc in the area. Festival-goers were also advised to conserve food, water and fuel. The local airport is closed and only emergency vehicles are allowed to enter or exit the neighboring town.
The organizers of the festival first sounded the alarm on Friday morning when they tweeted“There is a 60% chance of showers throughout the day on Friday, with total precipitation for the day as high as 2.5 cm.” Winds will be lighter on Friday than Thursday, but always even higher than average.” Hours later, organizers added“Driving is currently not allowed in the city. Please stay in your camp until everything is dry.”
The Twitter account since then festival traffic has provided a steady stream of updates and warnings before leaving the site. The newest weather update also advises that more rain is expected in the area on Sunday. The festival’s latest update reads: “Don’t travel to Black Rock City! Access to the city will be closed for the remainder of the event and you will be flipped.”
DJ Diplo posted a video about his own experiences in the elements at this year’s festival, noting he had just walked five miles through mud to leave Burning Man – and was picked up by comedian Chris Rock.
The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the state that hosts the festival each year, has also issued own statement about the crisis. The BLM stated, “Officials from the BLM and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office have barred entry to the Burning Man event effective immediately and for the remainder of the event.” Attendees traveling to the event should turn around and go home go.”
The statement continued: “Rain over the past 24 hours has resulted in a situation that has required a complete halt to vehicle movement on the playa. More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa.”