Heavy rains in the Black Rock Desert, where Burning Man is being held, have forced organizers to ban 73,000 attendees from leaving because "widespread muddy conditions created treacherous driving conditions," according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Burning Man posted on X that all attendees must "hunker down" and stay at campsites because a slow-moving rainstorm has transformed the desert playground into a muddy hellhole.
Check on your campmates and neighbors to make sure they’re ok, and help them as needed. Take advantage of a moment of calm to connect with campmates and hunker down. Stay safe!— Burning Man Traffic (@bmantraffic) September 2, 2023
Organizers told attendees to "conserve food & water, shelter in a warm space" amid the rainstorm.
The gate&airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed. Ingress&Egress are halted until further notice. No driving is permitted on playa with the exception of emergency vehicles. If you are in BRC,conserve food&water,shelter in a warm space. More updates to come. Stay safe!— Burning Man Traffic (@bmantraffic) September 2, 2023
As of Saturday morning, gates to enter or leave Burning Man and the local airport remain closed. Even the tech cent-millionaires and billionaires that flew in on private jets to the party in the desert have no way of escaping.
❣️The Gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed. Ingress and egress are halted for the time being, including Burner Express Air and Bus. No driving is permitted on playa except for emergency vehicles. If you are in BRC, please shelter in place and stay safe.— Burning Man Traffic (@bmantraffic) September 2, 2023
At least those with satellite internet (considering cell phone reception is nonexistent at the event), such as Starlink, have documented the mess.
But-but-but what about the 'climate crisis' of the world boiling?
“Burning Man must be so fucking dry and hot all the time”— 🌈Maly 🔥Burning Man❤️🔥 (@malytwotails) September 2, 2023
There are 3” of fucking slippery mud outside and another inch of rain coming. We haven’t left our tent all day, except to bring a campmate a shovel. pic.twitter.com/wjZrKrdgNb
Double rainbow sunset. pic.twitter.com/iX6CfRgshe— andrew hyde (@unicorn) September 2, 2023
Burning Man 2023 = total disaster. Watching my Facebook feed of my 45 year old pals who went into the desert with a summer-time tent made for a 2 night stay in a mountain campground are now sad as they sit in alkaline mud in Nevada. Like what did you expect?— Colorado Bear 🐻 (@FoodBevMedia) September 2, 2023
"While the Black Rock Desert rarely gets this much rain at once, the last time it did, Burning Man organizers were forced to shut the gate for several days," Reno Gazette-Journa said. The National Weather Service said skies might not clear until Sunday night or even Monday.
With attendees told to conserve food and shelter in place, the road closures mean cleaning and servicing of the thousands of portable toilets used by attendees has been suspended.
The event ends Monday, and some drew comparisons to the 2017 ill-fated party in the Bahamas called "Fyre Festival."