Rain paralyzes Burning Man’s exclusive airport

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The heavy rainfall in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert has transformed the Burning Man festival grounds into a quagmire of mud. Due to hazardous road conditions, more than 70,000 festival-goers find themselves marooned on the site until the ground sufficiently dries up.

No vehicles, including aircraft, can currently enter or exit the area. Hundreds of planes had previously landed at the festival’s specially constructed temporary airport, which remains closed since September 1, 2023.

The Black Rock City Municipal Airport, known as 88NV, is exclusively set up for Burning Man and operates during the festival’s duration, which in 2023 spans from August 23 to September 4. This airport is situated in the Black Rock Desert within the Northern Nevada region of the Great Basin. It boasts an elevation of 3,912 feet and features two 66,000-foot runways constructed on compacted dry alkali lakebed.

The exact number of stranded aircraft at the airport remains unclear. Business Insider estimates that over 880 flights arrived at the airstrip the previous week. In 2019, the airport reported more than 2,700 flight operations, according to its official website.

Every year, the Burning Man festival lures tens of thousands of attendees to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, United States. On August 28, 2023, climate activists temporarily blocked the road to Burning Man, demanding that the festival organizers ban private jets, single-use plastics, and unlimited generator and propane use.

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