Burning Man organizers began directing traffic out of the festival’s main road at around 2PM local time on Monday. Despite encouraging attendees to delay their travels, organizers estimated a festival exit wait time of around five hours.
Burning Man also asked festivalgoers to refrain from walking out of the site as others had done and shared on social media, including high-profile attendees like Diplo and Chris Rock. The closest major city to Burning Man’s site is Reno, Nevada, about 110 miles away.
The festival had been closed to vehicles since Friday, when more than a half-inch of rain fell and caused mud up to a foot deep throughout the dusty landscape. Road closures came just prior to the festival’s “Man Burn,” which was rescheduled from Saturday night to Monday.
The rain also halted many of the activities that happen throughout the massive, week-long event. Art cars were barred from traversing the grounds, and most music stages like Robot Heart and Mayan Warrior did not host their expected all-star roster of artists like Lee Burridge and Keinemusik.
The on-site flooding followed a number of logistical difficulties for Burning Man this year, including the delay of preparations due to earlier flooding from Tropical Storm Hilary and a road blockade set up by climate protestors.
At least one fatality at the festival has been reported, though Burning Man organizers said the man’s death was not weather-related. The Pershing County Sheriff is currently investigating the man’s cause of death.
Despite this year’s challenges, many festival attendees remained in high spirits.
Rebecca Barger, a photographer from Philadelphia who was attending her first burn, told the Associated Press, “Everyone has just adapted, sharing RVs for sleeping, offering food and coffee. I danced in foot-deep clay for hours to incredible DJs.”
Featured image from Burning Man. Credit: Marie Simonetti.
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