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Tourists escape a muddy mess as Burning Man comes to close

Tourists escape a muddy mess as Burning Man comes to close

Tourists escape a muddy mess as Burning Man comes to close

Tourists escape a muddy mess as Burning Man comes to close

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Amid relentless rain that left Burning Man attendees trapped in muddy conditions at the remote Nevada desert festival, their escape is finally underway.

On Monday, the festival’s organizers swung open the exit gates, bringing relief to the tens of thousands of festival-goers who had been marooned by the mud.

Despite the path to freedom being clear, many of the 64,000 people still at the site as of Monday might choose to stay an extra night to witness the festival’s colossal effigy set ablaze on Monday night, a day later than originally planned.

Unexpected summer showers turned the annual counterculture arts festival into a quagmire. The festival’s location in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, once the bed of Lake Lahontan 15,000 years ago, is remote, situated 15 miles from the nearest town and 110 miles north of Reno.

For several days, up to 70,000 attendees had to hunker down and conserve supplies as officials closed roads, preventing vehicles from leaving.

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On Sunday, officials confirmed a death at the event, providing few details and prompting an ongoing investigation.

To alleviate traffic congestion, festival organizers have encouraged drivers to exercise caution on Monday and possibly delay their departure until Tuesday.

Even before the roads officially opened, some attendees reported a gradual stream of vehicles leaving since dawn, with many struggling through the mud.

The exit route involves a 5-mile dirt road leading to the nearest highway. Images circulating online depicted large recreational vehicles stuck up to their tire rims in mud, with some using boards under the wheels for traction.

The temporary airport serving the festival was back in operation on Monday, with all outgoing flights bound for Reno, Nevada, according to the Burning Man Traffic Twitter account. Flights to Burbank, near Los Angeles, and Oakland were set to resume on Tuesday.

The Black Rock City Municipal Airport materializes in the desert for 13 days annually, using two runways on the dry lake bed before disappearing.

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Meteorologists from the National Weather Service announced on Monday that the rain had ceased after the area received between three-quarters of an inch to 1.5 inches of rain since late Friday.

Despite orders to stay put, some festival-goers attempted to walk or drive out to the highway, while others chose to continue celebrating in the rain. Videos shared on social media depicted revelers, including a few children, sliding through the sodden muck, their attire caked in wet earth.

Brian Fraoli, a 45-year-old “burner” from New York working in finance, embraced the challenging circumstances. Initially, he tried to drag his luggage through the mud in an escape attempt but eventually decided to relax and savor the experience. Fraoli reflected positively, stating, “Overall, it was an amazing week, and next time we will be more prepared.”

Burning Man draws tens of thousands of participants to the Nevada desert each year, offering an opportunity to dance, create art, and be part of a self-sufficient, temporary community.

Originating as a small gathering on a San Francisco beach in 1986, the week-long festival now attracts celebrities and social media influencers, with regular tickets priced at $575.

The festival’s customary penultimate night features the incineration of a giant wooden effigy of a man, accompanied by a fireworks display.

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Originally scheduled for Sunday night, the event was rescheduled for Monday night at 9 p.m. PDT (0400 GMT on Tuesday), as per organizers’ announcement.

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