Burning Man attendees begin exodus of festival after being trapped by flooding, mud

At least one death has been confirmed at Burning Man during the flooding rains. Conditions improved enough Monday for the exodus of thousands of Burners to begin.

BLACK ROCK DESERT, Nev.Monsoon rains Friday and over the weekend caused flash flooding at the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada, turning the usually dry, desert landscape into a muddy mess.

On Monday at noon, more than 72,000 festival-goers who have been trapped in Nevada's Black Rock Desert because of flooding conditions were given the go-ahead to leave, according to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. But a driving ban remained in place.

Less than an inch of rain fell over the weekend, but it was enough to create dangerous muddy conditions and cause roads around the festival to be shut down.

Festival organizers said the road was drying out Monday, and finally lifted the driving ban at 2 p.m., said Burning man organizers in a statement. Burning Man Traffic on X advised of over 5 hour exodus times Monday evening.

The Black Rock City Airport opened at noon on Monday with flights to Reno. On Tuesday, flights will begin to Burbank, Oakland and Reno, according to Burning Man festival organizers. 

Burners are asked to be kind to neighboring areas and businesses as they leave Black Rock City. 

"The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will continue to assist participants with a safe departure from the Black Rock Desert," Sheriff Darin Balaam said on X, formerly Twitter. 

FOX News Correspondent Claudia Cowan is at the festival and spoke with FOX News Live on Sunday as conditions continued to improve. She said many of her neighbors are trying to catch international flights back home. 

In past years, people have left in groups over multiple days. Now, there will be a mass exodus as people try and get out of the muddy playa. 

"Thousands of people would have left on Friday. Thousands would have left on Saturday. Thousands would have left on Sunday," Cowan said. "Now, no one has been able to leave."

Leading up to this exodus, a number of initiatives have been enacted to try to assist those who remain stuck. 

Sanitation trucks moved through the grounds to make sure portable toilets were functional and clean, according to the Burning Man Project. Plus, mobile cell trailers were placed to help boost cell service for participants.

Over the weekend, event organizers told the more than 73,000 people attending the Burning Man festival to hunker down and conserve resources.


Sunshine and clear skies are expected for the festival’s last day, Monday, when the iconic burning of the "Man" effigy will take place that evening. The festival’s namesake event was originally planned for Sunday but was postponed due to the inclement weather.


At least one death has been confirmed at Burning Man during the flooding rains. The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said that they are investigating the death reported during the rain event to see whether it was related to the severe weather.