Burning Man access is closed as heavy rains muddy the playa

A picture from Burning Man in 2009. | Photo by Frederic Larson/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Nobody can go in or out of Burning Man after heavy rainfall on Friday turned the desert floor of the playa into impassible, sticky mud, prompting the Festival’s organizers late last night to ask as many as 70,000 attendees to shelter in place (via SFGate). Organizers reposted a similar message to the Burning Man Traffic account on X (formerly Twitter) around 12PM ET today.

An estimated 6 inches of rain soaked the festival Friday, according to The Associated Press, citing the National Weather Service in Reno, and another quarter of a foot of rain could fall this evening into Sunday.

The Bureau of Land Management released a statement on Saturday saying festival officials and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office “have closed ingress to the Burning Man event effective immediately and for the remainder of the event,” as quoted in the Reno Gazette Journal, and the bureau added that “more rain is expected over the next few days,” saying conditions weren’t expected to improve enough to allow for driving on the playa.

Journalist Scott Budman, who reports for NBC in the San Francisco Bay Area, posted a video filmed by Josh Keppel at Burning Man, showing the still-wet and muddy grounds and people walking through it:

Several users on TikTok showed off the calamity as well, but most seemed in good spirits, like user marshallmosher:

User angiepeacockmsw reported that while activities are shut down, it’s not a Hunger Games scene as they speculate some might be picturing:

A montage posted by user Shoddy Lyn has people partying with bags on their feet; mud-covered boots; and panoramas of the playa:


The playa isnt really providing this time… #burningman2023

♬ Such a Whore (Baddest Remix) – JVLA

User Ivoryringlord posted at 1PM PT, showing more cloud cover and discussing the conditions. He noted that it was beginning to rain again:

Finally, user David Date shows some of the ways people are dealing with the muddy conditions:


Drowning Man update: This is a legitimate humanitarian disaster, but we are a resilient community and will transcend the mud-pocalypse! #burningman #burningman2023 #drowningman #burningmanflood

♬ original sound – David Date

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