'Worse than mud': Burning Man attendees play waiting game for land to dry at Black Rock City

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, September 4, 2023
Burning Man attendees play waiting game for mud to dry
The flooding and the mud are making it nearly impossible to leave Black Rock City, home to Burning Man, for thousands of attendees.

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev. (KGO) -- Labor Day Weekend isn't the holiday Burning Man attendees had hoped for.

Torrential rains have left tens of thousands stranded in a remote stretch of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The flooding and the mud making it nearly impossible to leave. One death has been confirmed and now attendees are again being asked to conserve food, water and fuel.

"We had planned on leaving yesterday but seems like that's not the plan," said Matt Schuster.

Schuster from San Francisco is patiently waiting for the weather to change in Black Rock City, home to Burning Man.

RELATED: 1 death under investigation as thousands at Burning Man festival confined in desert, authorities say

One was death reported as Burning Man festivalgoers in the Nevada desert are being told to conserve food and water as they shelter in place.

"Right now, it's a light shower," Schuster said.

It's Schuster's 19th year attending the counter-culture arts festival and this year, torrential rains have stranded tens of thousands of "Burners." It's made the desert floor, better known as the "Playa," a muddy mess.

"It's not a good decision to try and drive," Schuster said.

Organizers say driving out -- even walking out -- isn't advised.

RELATED: How stranded Burning Man festival attendee is coping with flood aftermath as more rain expected

About 70,000 people are stranded sheltering in place at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

"It's clay and it's worse than mud. It fills all the grooves in your tires, literally you have no tread to leave," said Schuster.

The mud is so thick, sculptures of mud people are being made.

Burning Man attendees have been told to shelter in place and conserve fuel, food and water.

"They shut the water down. I'm walking around pulling power cables out of the ground so they don't get stuck in the mud. All we're doing is kitchen and drinking water, that's it," said Angie Peacock.

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

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.

Authorities shut down the entrance to the campgrounds for the remainder of the event, which ends Monday.

"We might not be leaving here until Thursday because it takes two to four days for the Playa to dry," said one attendee.

Schuster is willing to wait as long as it takes. He says for now, there's a community spirit with people helping one another.

"So we're here we're hanging out with friends. We're still having a good time," Schuster added.

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