(KRON) — After being asked to shelter in place all weekend due to a torrential downpour, thousands of people attending Burning Man were finally allowed to leave Monday. Buses, trucks and RVs were finally given the all-clear Monday afternoon, but the Burning Man organization is still advising that people should delay leaving until tomorrow to avoid congestion.
“As of 2 p.m. Mon 9/4, Exodus operations have officially begun in Black Rock City,” read a tweet from the Burning Man organizers Monday. “The driving ban has been lifted.”
“The playa is still muddy in some areas. Stay on hard-packed roads and out of standing water,” the tweet added.
All weekend, the more than 70,000 festivalgoers in attendance were left to deal with deep, murky mud. Anyone who did try to leave the playa got stuck in the mud and cars even caught on fire, according to those who are there.
One person died over the weekend, but it’s still not clear if that death was weather related.
Christopher Vasquez has been at Burning Man all week and says the weekend rain and mud was definitely a challenge. People were finally able to start leaving the playa Monday, but Vasquez doesn’t expect to be able to get a burner bus back to San Francisco until tomorrow.
He says the uncertainty around getting out has been the hardest part.
“Some people have had to change flights, one of our camp mates had to pay $1,000 just to change his flight,” said Vasquez, speaking by phone. “Anybody with RVs had to extend their RV rentals which is a significant amount of money. Just work, with very limited cell service and very limited Wi-Fi it’s been hard to tell employers when we’ll be back to work.”
A big part of the event is the actual burn of the man statue. That was supposed to happen Saturday. Then it was moved to Sunday night, but because of the weather and muddy conditions it is now on schedule for Monday night.