(DCWatchdog.com) – BREAKING NOW: 73,000 attendees at Burning Man are currently confined to their campsites, unable to exit the venue due to adverse weather conditions. A slow-moving rainstorm transformed the desert landscape into a muddy, sludgy mess.
Event organizers have restricted all vehicle movement on the roads starting Friday afternoon, keeping the exit gates shut as of 8 a.m. local time on Saturday.
Traversing the area by foot was perilous as the mud was so thick that it stuck to shoes and other objects it came into contact with.
Both Friday and Saturday saw warnings from organizers for attendees to ration their supplies of food and water, hinting at a prolonged period of closure.
Updates were offered via the Burning Man radio station, BMIR, and a social media account dedicated to the event.
Communication options are limited at the venue. Cell phone service is almost non-existent, and only a handful of people have the capability to access satellite internet for the latest updates.
Attendees are expected to be self-sufficient throughout the event, bringing necessities like food, water, and shelter.
As morning broke on Saturday, there was a growing sense among attendees that their departures might be delayed. Weather forecasts indicated continued rain through Saturday and into Sunday.
Unlike most Saturdays at the event, which are usually filled with excitement for the upcoming Man effigy burn, this Saturday had a quieter atmosphere.
Few individuals dared to venture out into the muddy thoroughfares, with most trying to navigate back to their respective camps after spending the previous night at other locations.
Angelov Franco from Colombia, who has been to Burning Man 13 times, described the experience as unparalleled. After using the portable restrooms, Franco secured garbage bags around his feet and shuffled his way back to his camp through the muddy terrain. “This is going to be fun,” he expressed optimistically. “Hopefully, the sun will come out after the rain.”
The inclement weather struck when attendance and activities were reaching their peak, causing the cancellation of numerous large-scale art burns on Friday night.
In an official statement released at 5 a.m., the event organizers said, “No driving is permitted on playa except for emergency vehicles. If you are in (Black Rock City), please shelter in place and stay safe.” They also advised separately, “If you are in BRC, conserve food and water, shelter in a warm space.”
The event is slated to conclude on Monday with a large-scale exit, commonly referred to as Exodus, but it is unclear whether attendees will be able to use the roads by then.