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Burning Man flooded leaving thousands stranded in mud

President Biden has been notified of the situation in the playa, including the unfortunate death of one attendee

  • Words: Amira Waworuntu | Image: Maryann Jones Thompson for The Standard
  • 4 September 2023
Burning Man flooded leaving thousands stranded in mud

Burning Man 2023 was hit by a late-summer storm and torrential rain, causing it to experience flooding for the first time.

Gathered in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert playa are around 70,000 festival goers who are currently stranded in mud, with organisers announcing that “The roads in Black Rock City remain too wet and muddy to officially open them for Exodus on Sunday 9/3”.

As of late Saturday, officials remained uncertain about when the roads would become sufficiently dry for RVs and vehicles to traverse safely.

Organisers have deployed mobile cell service trailers and buses for the tens of thousands still stranded in the area of the festival, and have taken to social media to share updates on the ongoing safety and exit strategies.

According to CNN, up to three months’ worth of rain showered the remote area in the course of 24 hours (from Friday, September 1 to Saturday, September 2), resulting in up to 0,8 inches of thick, clay-like mud. This made it nearly impossible for attendees to bike or even walk.

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Diplo, considered a regular at the festival, was able to get out of the playa by hitchhiking a ride on a fan’s pickup truck after walking 6 miles through mud. He was joined by comedian Chris Rock.

Other festival goers who decided to (literally) walk away from the festival headed to local bars for shelter.

Meanwhile, those who remained at the venue were told to conserve water and food while hoping for better conditions.

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The Man burn, scheduled for the past Sunday night, has been rescheduled to Monday night, with event operations “responding to evolving conditions”, mention organisers.

At the start of Burning Man, climate protesters parked a trailer on the road, blocking attendees from entering the area and causing a miles-long gridlock. Several concerns of theirs include the festival’s illegal dumping of trash and carbon footprint — said to have reached 100,000 tons of CO2 a year in 2019.

President Biden has also been notified of the situation, which includes the unfortunate death of one attendee. The cause of death is still unknown.

Via: CNN & Insider

Additional images: Paul Reder via Reuters & Trevor Hughes via USA Today Network

Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.

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