It’s a blooming mess at this year’s Burning Man festival. On Saturday, more than 73,000 attendees were blocked from leaving the event, as a rain storm turned the playa into a muddy bowl of glop.
The Bureau of Land Management released a statement Saturday saying Burning Man entry is now closed for this year.
“Officials from BLM and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office have closed ingress to the Burning Man event effective immediately and for the remainder of the event. Participants inbound for the event should turn around and head home.
“Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa. More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa.”
The BLM oversees the public land that Burning Man is held on.
Today’s lockdown was foreshadowed on Friday, when organizers barred vehicle traffic and kept the exit gates closed. Instead of the hot and dusty climate that marks past Burning Man events, this year’s rain made the playa into a thick bowl of mud.
Because of the closure, attendees were warned to conserve food and water. Burning Man attendees are expected to bring in all the food, water and shelter they need. The conditions have created fears of hypothermia, a vast difference from past warnings about heat stroke in the desert climate.
More rain is forecast for late Saturday into Sunday. The traditional burning of The Man wooden effigy is set for Saturday night.
“No driving is permitted on playa except for emergency vehicles,” event organizers said in a 5 a.m. statement. “If you are in (Black Rock City), please shelter in place and stay safe.”
The event officially ends Monday in a mass departure known as Exodus.