Heavy Rains Immobilize Burning Man Attendees

Festival-goers were asked to shelter in place

Burning Man art, 2014
A sculpture at Burning Man, 2014.
Jordan England-Nelson/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

When abundant rain falls in the middle of a desert, the resulting mud can be both pervasive and paralyzing for anyone caught in the middle of it. Unfortunately, attendees of this year’s Burning Man Festival — held in Black Rock Desert — have learned that firsthand, with some campers being told to shelter in place as a result of conditions on the site.

As Edward Helmore reports for The Guardian, all vehicular traffic in Black Rock City is currently barred except for emergency vehicles.

“The Gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed. Ingress and egress are halted until further notice,” a post from the Twitter account Burning Man Traffic stated. “No driving is permitted except emergency vehicles. If you are in BRC, conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space. More updates to come.”

Muddy conditions on-site aren’t the only issue festival attendees have to contend with. Helmore reports that the scheduled cleaning of portable toilets in Black Rock City has been delayed due to the mud. Temperatures in the desert are now dropping into the 50s, which could also add challenges to the festivalgoers currently sheltering in place.

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As The Guardian notes, attendance at this year’s festival was already expected to be lower than usual due to the weather conditions. It’s presently unclear whether any more of the large-scale annual events — including the burning of a human-shaped figure — will take place at all this year.


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