Thousands of people who were stranded in the Nevada desert due to the Burning Man flooding started leaving the makeshift town on Monday.
The evacuation began at 2 p.m. on Monday, the organizers announced on X, a social network formerly known as Twitter.
"The playa is still muddy in some areas. Stay on hard-packed roads and out of standing water," they warned.
As of 2pm Mon 9/4, Exodus operations have officially begun in Black Rock City. The driving ban has been lifted. Exodus wait times coming shortly on @bmantraffic. The playa is still muddy in some areas. Stay on hard-packed roads and out of standing water.undefined Burning Man Project (@burningman) September 4, 2023
About 70,000 attendees of the Burning Man festival were isolated in muddy campgrounds after the heavy rain on Friday that prompted officials to close the road that leads in and out of the venue known as Black Rock City.
The Burning Man flooding fueled fears over health risks, such as hypothermia, a condition that occurs when the body temperature drops to dangerously low levels after being in the cold for extended periods. The attendees were also told to conserve food, water, and fuel, given the extreme weather conditions.
As thousands of people were waiting for evacuation, some X users spread misinformation about the alleged Ebola outbreak taking place in the festival area. Social media users started circulating a fake post from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advised attendees to stay in their dwellings due to the outbreak.
The CDC spokesperson said that the agency has not received any reports of Ebola at the Burning Man Festival.
“The CDC has not issued any warnings or had any requests for assistance from the state and local health departments either. Additionally, we have not received reports of Mpox or Marburg, and to our knowledge, a national emergency for the flooding has not been declared,” the spokesperson said in a statement shared with Healthnews.
A public information officer at the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Black Rock Desert site, told indy100 that they "have heard no information of any participants with Ebola."
Ebola is a deadly disease caused by four ebolaviruses. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Ebola is not considered a threat outside of certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where the outbreaks occur. To date, there have been only a few people treated for Ebola in the United States (U.S.), most of whom had contracted the disease in western Africa as healthcare workers.
The local police launched an investigation into a death that occurred during the extreme rain but was not caused by it, the spokesperson for Pershing County Sheriff's Office told CBS News on Sunday.
Burning Man is "a global ecosystem of artists, makers, and community organizers who co-create art, events, and local initiatives around the world," according to its website. It is best known for the annual festival that attracts thousands of people to gather in the Nevada desert.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Ebola Disease?
- Infectious Diseases Society of America. Ebola Facts.
- CBS News. Investigation launched into death at Burning Man, with thousands still stranded in Nevada desert after flooding.
- Indy100. Burning Man 2023: 'Ebola outbreak' conspiracies debunked.