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Burning Man festival organizers on Monday said they expect attendees to begin leaving the event site by midday after rain and flash flooding trapped more than 70,000 festival-goers in the northwestern portion of the Nevada desert over the weekend.
In a statement, event officials said the main road to enter and exit the site is drying up but remains “a bit too muddy,” with standing water impacting those attempting to navigate out of Black Rock City.
“Exodus is planned to officially begin around noon today, Monday 9/4,” the statement reads. “Expect an update again in the next few hours.”
Burning Man festival, which has attracted up to 100,000 people to the remote area roughly 100 miles away from Reno since the 1980s, describes itself as a “community and global cultural movement” that tests self-sufficiency, promotes radical self-expression, and pinnacles at the end during the burning of a giant wooden effigy.
The “Man burn” was initially scheduled to happen on Sunday night, but festival organizers postponed setting ablaze the effigy at “The Chapel of Babel” at midnight on Tuesday.
Departing the festival, known as “Exodus,” typically takes up to 12 hours for festival-goers to leave the site as thousands of cars and trailers drive off the playa and onto a two-lane desert highway.
Festival organizers advised attendees to wait until Tuesday to depart to alleviate traffic congestion throughout the day.
Thick, ankle-deep mud overwhelmed more than 70,000 people attending the annual weeklong summer festival in the Nevada desert as heavy rain poured in the area for several hours, leaving festival-goers stranded and forced to shelter in place and conserve resources.
Marian Goodell, CEO of Burning Man Project, told NBC News on Sunday that “there is no cause for panic.”
“We’re very pleased and surprised that there has been such a fuss over us,” she said. “We’ve made it really clear that we do not see this as an evacuation situation. The water is drying up.”
This year’s event began on August 27 and was scheduled to end Monday. But after heavy rains started flooding the festival site and adding to an already saturated playa on Friday night, the Bureau of Land Management and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office officials closed the festival’s entrance gate.
Local authorities in the Nevada desert are investigating one death at the Burning Man festival after rain and flash flooding forced tens of thousands of attendees to shelter in place and conserve resources on Saturday. Although the deceased person’s identity or the cause of death has not been publicly released, authorities said family members have been notified. Burning Man officials said on Sunday that the death was “unrelated to the weather,” according to The Independent.