The annual desert art festival is known as Burning Man festival 2023, which draws tens of thousands to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. It’s canceled after severe flooding turned the playa into a muddy morass. Officials closed vehicle access and told attendees to stay put and conserve food, water, and other supplies.
Burning Man Festival 2023’s Disaster
The main event, the burning of a wooden man, has been postponed until Monday. A death has been reported, though local law enforcement has not identified the individual or suspected cause. Heavy rains and high winds disrupted the usual flow of people and supplies at the annual event.
Which has been in operation since Friday. The sudden weather change is the result of moisture from a Southwest monsoon. Colliding with early-season troughs and low-pressure systems in this part of the Great Basin.
Despite the danger, many attendees seemed to be in good spirits. They played beer pong in the mud and danced in the streets. A radio station at the site and social media accounts have been providing updates.
But cell service is nearly nonexistent. The storms have prevented service trucks from reaching the site, meaning the porta-potty fleet has not been able to be replenished. That has led to lines at the few working toilets.
The storm also has caused debris to wash onto the playa, making it dangerous for those who are trying to navigate in and out of the temporary city. A spokesman for the White House said President Joe Biden was aware of the situation at the gathering. The administration was in contact with local authorities.
The administration hasn’t yet made a decision about whether to send federal emergency personnel. The Bureau of Land Management has sent helicopters to the site. Organizers have dropped cellphone trailers at several locations.
They plan to open Internet access briefly overnight. But most of those who attend the festival typically depart late Sunday or Monday in a departure known as “exodus.” The event was expected to conclude on Saturday evening with the burning of the Man, an eight-foot wooden sculpture that stands at the center of the temporary city.