- Jim Bourg/Reuters
- Thousands of people arrived in Black Rock City, Nevada, over the weekend for Burning Man, which officially began on Sunday.
- Dust storms caused dangerous driving conditions that day, prompting a three-hour closure of city gates.
- Wait times peaked around 10 hours and were still six to seven hours-long on Monday morning.
- During the closure, festival organizers told attendees to return to nearby Reno or stay put on the highway.
Wait times to enter Black Rock City – the temporary city in Nevada where Burning Man is held every August – reportedly hit 10 hours on Sunday after dust storms caused dangerous driving conditions and prompted a three-hour closure of the gates, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
Most of the 70,000 Burning Man attendees went to the desert this past Sunday, when the festival officially began.
The drive from a local county road to the city gates can take as little as 15 minutes. However, it’s common for attendees to experience whiteout conditions. Before the gates closed on Sunday, poor visibility led to multiple halts in traffic since festival participants were unable to drive safely.
Burning Man organizers told participants on their way to Black Rock City to either go back to Reno – which is two hours south of Black Rock City – or stay put on the highway.
“Entry to Burning Man remains closed and weather reports indicate this will last for hours,” the organizers tweeted on Sunday evening. “Please hold in Reno, Cedarville, or any other city capable of supporting an influx of waiting burners. We are turning away cars trying to reach the event, sending them back down CR34.”
As of Monday morning, the wait time was still six to seven hours long, according to an unverified Twitter account estimating Burning Man traffic times. The official Burning Man account has been retweeting some of these updates.
Some Burners were already inside the festival gates when the dust storms hit. Volunteers have been arriving over the past month to build the city and prepare all of the infrastructure for the festival.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, attendees put on masks and goggles and waited inside tents, RVs, or behind trucks.