Attendees trying to leave the muddy Burning Man festival are now having to deal with a traffic jam of more than 7 hours on Tuesday morning, reports say. 

A message posted on the X account Burning Man Traffic less than 24 hours after the Nevada festival’s organizers lifted a driving ban following heavy rainfall said, “Exodus wait times are approximately 7.5 hours.” 

On Monday, the Burning Man website said “Exodus operations have officially begun in Black Rock City,” also noting that in previous years, “Exodus wait times peaked at six to nine hours.” 

“The driving ban has been lifted,” said a message on a portion of the website titled “2023 Wet Playa Survival Guide.” 

“Please know that while conditions are improving and roads are drying, the playa is still muddy and may be difficult to navigate in some neighborhoods and down certain streets. Avoid the 5:30 radial street, stay on hard-packed roads and out of standing water.” 


Traffic leaving Burning Man in Nevada

Vehicles are seen departing the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, on Monday, Sept. 4. (Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight)

“Take it slow and mind those directing traffic Please be patient as you exit through Gate Road, and respect Burning Man staff who are working hard to make the Exodus experience as smooth and safe as possible,” the website added. 

The annual gathering, which launched on a San Francisco beach in 1986, now attracts nearly 80,000 artists, musicians and activists to northern Nevada for a mix of wilderness camping and avant-garde performances. Disruptions are part of the event’s recent history. Dust storms forced organizers to temporarily close entrances to the festival in 2018, and the event was twice canceled altogether during the pandemic. 

On Saturday, organizers of the counterculture festival told attendees to shelter in a warm, safe place and conserve food, water and fuel amid rainstorms. Both the airport and entrance of Black Rock City, Nevada, where the event is held, were closed because of the conditions. 


People waiting to leave Burning Man festival

Hundreds of Burning Man attendees who planned to leave on buses wait for information about when they will be able to leave on Labor Day. (Trevor Hughes/USA Today Network/Reuters)

The measures came after more than one-half inch of rain was believed to have drenched the festival site on Friday, the National Weather Service in Reno said. 

President Biden told reporters in Delaware on Sunday that he was aware of the situation at Burning Man, including a reported death, and the White House was in touch with local authorities. 

The annual event is known for the burning of a large wooden effigy, which was supposed to take place Saturday night. Organizers posted on the event website the burning would take place on Monday night at 9 p.m. 

The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said on Saturday that the death happened “during this rain event” in northern Nevada, though no additional details were immediately released. 

Mud at Burning Man festival

In this image from video provided by Rebecca Barger, a man walks through mud at the Burning Man festival site in Black Rock, Nevada, on Monday, Sept. 4. (Rebecca Barger/@rebeccabargerphoto via AP)


Event organizers on Sunday, the Independent reported, said the death of the unidentified 40-year-old man was “unrelated to weather.” 

Fox News’ Greg Wehner and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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