Burning Man attendees stuck, try to leave after muddy conditions force shelter-in-place

Sep 3, 2023, 6:25 PM | Updated: Sep 4, 2023, 6:09 am

PERSHING COUNTY, Nev. — An annual event turned into a muddy mess in the desert for thousands of people attending the Burning Man festival in northwest Nevada.

One person has died and nearly 70,000 people were asked to conserve water and food after officials closed the Black Rock City’s entrance on Saturday due to heavy rain that caused impassive muddy conditions.

The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said the death is under investigation and are working to notify the family.


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Despite word from officials, our Chopper 5 spotted many vehicles could be seen attempting to drive out of the area. Some cars could be seen getting stuck in the mud. Some people have also reportedly tried to walk for miles.

“We drove out (Saturday) night, we had to be somewhere, we had to get out, and I don’t trust the system here to say people will be getting out of here comfortably and in order,” said Dr. Alex Kumar, who’s visiting from England. “I’m absolutely elated I’m out.”

People could be seen wearing plastic bags over their shows on social media. Utahns like J.D. Rouillard and Jodie Stackhouse were also able to make the trek out on Sunday.

“We had like a 45-minute window of either we leave now, and I get to Salt Lake by Monday, or I feel like people might be here until Thursday,” Rouillard said.

“I’m worried about the bathrooms because they were (very) close to overflowing, and it’s about to get cold and rainy,” Stackhouse added.

Exclusive Chopper 5: Travel out of Burning Man challenging as desert ground turns to mud

Despite the long haul out of Black Rock City, Rouillard and Stackhouse said the experience was “exciting” and would consider coming back next year.

Valerie Cameron of Taylorsville said this year was her first time at Burning Man, adding that most people she’s come across still have high spirits.

“It’s definitely dirty. Like we’re out here in the mud. But, like, that’s part of the experience. And I’m having a great time.”

The event is set to officially wrap up on Monday, but it’s unclear when or how long it will take for all of the eventgoers to make it out.

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Burning Man attendees stuck, try to leave after muddy conditions force shelter-in-place