Rain came down hard in Black Rock City, located in the remote Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada, on Sunday around noon and then again around 6 p.m., making it still unclear when attendees will be able to leave. This rain has continued to leave the event at a relative standstill, as it has turned the site’s ground into thick mud that’s nontraversable by car and bike. Authorities issued a no driving order when the rain began on Friday.
Complicating matters, more than 300 cars and RVs are currently stuck at the event’s gate after having attempted to leave. Some have been stuck in the mud on the road for a few hours, and some for roughly two days.
A volunteer at Burning Man’s official information booth said that tow trucks are not currently coming to the site, and that when the gate does open, priority will be given to those who did not attempt to leave, given the no driving order that was issued.
One death was reported at Burning Man late Saturday.
According to CNN, the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating “a death which occurred during this rain event.” Authorities did not name the person, but noted, “The family has been notified.” On Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office said that the individual was found on the playa and lifesaving procedures to revive them were not successful.
On Sunday, a White House official said President Biden has been briefed on the situation at Burning Man. Administration officials were in contact with state and local officials, the New York Times reports.
Officials are still planning to burn the event’s namesake man structure at 9 p.m. on Monday, with another large-scale art piece to be burned later in the evening and the event’s temple structure to be burned at an as-yet-determined time on Tuesday.
In the city, talk is rising of Burners concerned about getting back to their lives in the outside world. Discussions about how to tend to children, pets and plants has been overheard. “I need to leave!” one woman at the information booth stated. “I’m supposed to go on vacation in Greece this week.”
The event’s airport remains closed. The Burner Bus shuttles to Reno and San Francisco, which transported roughly 20,000 people into the event, are postponed until further notice. Once shuttle service resumes, riders will be organized by departure time, with priority given to those whose departure time has passed.