Throughout Friday (9.01) afternoon and Saturday (9.02) morning, eight inches of rain fell on Burning Man that left the annual event in a relative standstill.
In light of the weather conditions making it impossible to enter and exit, Burning Man officials closed the event’s gates, with all vehicles, other than emergency transport services, told not to move to.
Naturally an arid desert playa, rain turns the ground of Burning Man, into thick mud, making it difficult for vehicles to move without getting stuck. The forecast in Nevada’s Black Rock City, which is what the temporary city of Burning Man calls for a 60% chance of rain between Saturday afternoon and Sunday at 5 p.m.
An information official on-site confirmed that the ground typically needs 12-24 hours after the last rain to become drivable, adding that their best guess for when the roads may reopen would be Monday (9.03) or Tuesday (9.04), depending upon on the weather conditions.
Approximately 20,000 people arrived to Black Rock City via the Burner Bus, which transports people from cities including San Francisco and Reno, and the information authority notes that these buses will return on a first-come, first-served schedule when roads reopen.
Based on details shared in the city’s information booth, the current population of Black Rock City is roughly 73,000. Burners have been advised to conserve food and water in the event that those inside the city will not be able to leave for several days. The ice tent is currently limiting people to buying one bag only.
Diplo was at Burning Man, but managed to leave — apparently with Chris Rock — and then hitched a ride from a fan. “just walked 5 miles in the mud out of burning man with chris rock and a fan picked us up,” he tweeted Saturday afternoon.
While the man traditionally burns at the event on Saturday night, an information official says that this burn is unlikely to happen today, given the wetness and the fact that emergency vehicles and fire trucks cannot currently drive out to the man structure.
Inside the city, spirits are relatively high. Music is playing from many camps, with dance parties taking place under tents and in the mud itself. Many of the people out walking around the city are barefoot, with others covering their shoes in plastic bags or wearing just socks.
Information is being disseminated to Burners via the city’s pair of radio stations. Burners have also been advised that there will likely be a citywide cheer when the gates reopen.