Editor’s Note: Find the latest Burning Man festival coverage here.
Thousands of people remain trapped at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert after heavy rains inundated the area and created thick, ankle-deep mud which sticks to campers’ shoes and vehicle tires.
Attendees were told to shelter in place in the Black Rock Desert and conserve food, water and fuel after a rainstorm swamped the area, forcing officials to halt any entering or leaving of the festival.
“A little over 70,000 people,” remained stranded Saturday, Sgt. Nathan Carmichael, with the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN Sunday morning. Some people have left the site by walking out but “most of the RVs are stuck in place,” he said.
On Sunday morning, event organizers said roads remained closed as they were “too wet and muddy” and more uncertain weather was likely on the way. While some vehicles were able to leave, others got stuck in the mud, organizers said on the event’s website.
“Please do NOT drive at this time,” they added. “We will update you on the driving ban after this weather front has left the area.”
The remote area in northwest Nevada was hit with 2 to 3 months’ worth of rain – up to 0.8 inches – in just 24 hours between Friday and Saturday morning. The heavy rainfall fell on dry desert grounds, whipping up thick, clay-like mud festivalgoers said was too difficult to walk or bike through.
A death at the festival that was confirmed by authorities on Saturday was “unrelated to the weather,” Burning Man organizers said Sunday night.