Santa Cruz man at Burning Man breaks down situation as thousands stranded due to flooding

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Sunday, September 3, 2023
Santa Cruz man at Burning Man breaks down flooding situation
Thousands in attendance at the annual Burning Man Festival are stranded in the Nevada Desert after heavy rain turned the area into a giant mud pit.

BLACK ROCK CITY (KGO) -- Viral videos from social media show the situation unfolding at Burning Man.

"We're pretty flooded right now. Roads are completely closed. Cars can't make it in or out."

Thousands in attendance at the annual festival held in the Nevada desert are stranded after heavy rainfall turned the area into a giant mud pit.

The situation is so bad that cars are unable to drive through, forcing federal and local county officials to shut down the main entrance.

RELATED: Thousands at Burning Man told to conserve water, food after flooding leaves them confined in desert

With nowhere to go, many festivalgoers who have reception have turned to the internet to vent their frustrations.

"I think the biggest issue right now is that the porta-potty service trucks can't make it down the road and service the porta-potties. So porta-potties are filling up and people are getting a little desperate," said David Date.

The festival is meant to be a gathering of artists and community organizers from around the world.

Date, from Santa Cruz, has been going for the past seven years.

MORE: Stranger becomes hero during Tropical Storm Hilary flooding in SoCal

He says some people are adapting better than others.

"It's a total mix. A lot of people are kind of just shut up in their RVs, but there's other people out here interacting and having a good time," Date said.

More rain is expected to hit the area over the weekend, potentially making the problem even worse.

Festival officials are asking people to conserve food and water.

MORE: Rising temperatures could accelerate snowmelt, leading to flooding worries

"We're just kind of relying on each other. We're bringing refugees into the camp, giving them water, giving them beer, whatever they need to kind of ride this out," Date said.

Despite the difficult conditions, Date says one of the festival's core principles is self-reliance.

So while no one might have predicted this, he says many are prepared.

"This truly is a challenging event. I refer to it as a survival school. We come out here, and we do whatever we have to do to survive these elements and unpredictable conditions," Date said.

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