Burning Man Descends Into Chaos as Attendees Told to "Shelter in Place"

Burning Unit

The Burning Man festival is known for its controlled chaos, but that control seems to have slipped this year as massive rainstorms hit the Nevada desert where it's held, causing some to flee and authorities to tell others to "shelter in place," prompting pandemonium.

As the Reno Gazette Journal and other outlets have reported, event organizers for the festival that hosted an estimated 73,000 attendees in Nevada's Black Rock Desert have closed down the gates in and out of the playa, which has morphed into a muddy hellhole amid the weekend's rainstorms.

The gates are expected to stay closed through Monday, the end of the week-long festival, and the popup airport constructed every year for the event has also been closed for incoming and outgoing flights.

"No driving is permitted on playa except for emergency vehicles," event organizers said in a statement sent to attendees and press at 5 AM local time. “If you are in [Black Rock City], please shelter in place and stay safe."

Along with the shelter-in-place warning, organizers have also begun rationing ice sales, and because no vehicles are allowed in or out of the event, the portable toilets have not been able to be emptied, the report notes. Talk about a crappy situation!

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Misinformation

Video and images posted from the event show the nightmarish conditions on the ground, though some festivalgoers seem to be making the most of the debacle. In one post on the site formerly known as Twitter, the electronic music producer Diplo noted that he and comedian Chris Rock hiked five miles through the mud before being picked up by some fans.

Along with lots of meanspirited jokes about the situation, there are also rumors circulating online that there is an ebola outbreak at the shuttered festival, though as Forbes reports, those claims stem from fake screenshots showing notifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There's more than enough bad news surrounding this year's Burning Man to go around without misinformation or cruel jokes about the people stranded out there in the Nevada desert — a good reminder that even though Fyre Fest-like circumstances can be humorous, this stuff does affect real people.

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