Last Updated on September 4, 2023

Contrary to some reports, Burning Man 2023 has not been canceled. The event has been postponed due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Hilary.

The Burning Man Project announced today that Gate Road will remain closed until Wednesday at noon. All vehicle movement in, out, and around Black Rock City is prohibited. The water on the playa is noticeably drying, but rain and mud still make it difficult to move around.

The Burning Man Project announced the postponement on August 22, 2023, saying that the safety of participants could not be guaranteed due to the wet conditions.

The Event Operations Director is still positive that the event will take place, albeit with delays.

Flooded Black Rock site just ahead of Burning Man 2023
Heavy floods, fires and explosions have been reported at the site just ahead of the start of the festival.

The event was scheduled to take place from August 27 to September 4, 2023, in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. However, Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in the area on August 20, bringing heavy rain and flooding.

The Burning Man Project said that the playa, the dry lake bed where the event is held, was covered in several inches of water, and that there was a risk of sinkholes and other safety hazards.

The Burning Man Project said that it is committed to holding Burning Man 2023 as soon as it is safe to do so. But as of now, preparations have been highly affected by the storm and campers have been asked to delay their arrival at the site.

To recap:

  • Hilary made landfall in the Black Rock Desert on August 20, 2023, bringing heavy rain and flooding in the desert.
  • The playa, the dry lake bed where Burning Man is held, was covered in several inches of water.
  • There was a risk of sinkholes and other safety hazards.
  • The Burning Man Project announced on August 22, 2023, that the event was being postponed due to the flooding.
  • The event is not canceled, but it will be rescheduled for a later date.
  • The Burning Man Project is working with local officials to assess the damage caused by the flooding and to determine a new date for the event.

Burning Man Announces New Sound Policy for 2023 Event

Photos and videos shared on social media over the weekend showed flooding and mud at the Black Rock City site of Burning Man.

The playa is typically covered in a thin layer of dust, but the recent rains have turned it into a muddy mess.

The flooding is the latest challenge to face Burning Man. In recent years, the event has also been affected by wildfires, extreme heat, and dust storms, and had to undergo a two years hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

We finally got a Lazy River on the playa!
by u/Highway_27 in BurningMan

Despite the challenges, Burning Man remains a popular event, attracting over 80,000 participants each year. The event is known for its unique culture of self-expression, creativity, and community.

The Burning Man Traffic account tweeted that the gate would remain closed until noon PT Wednesday, August 23, and that people with Work Access passes should not travel to Gerlach, as there were no rooms available.

The main spectacles, including the Man and the Temple of the Heart, were already laid, but theme camp and art project builds were halted.

Experts say that the flooding is due to a combination of factors, including climate change.

Earlier this year, Burning Man organizers sued the U.S. government to block a geothermal project that aims to produce renewable energy near the site of the gathering.

The plan is part of the Biden Administration’s effort to get the U.S. power grid running on renewable sources of energy by 2035. Festival organizers, however, contend that building up the plant and needed infrastructure could degrade local hot springs.

Read more: The Plagues of Burning Man 2023: Floods, Kayaks and Tarantulas

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