Burning Man organizers reopened the road leading out of the remote Nevada desert festival on Monday, allowing tens of thousands of attendees to escape after they had been trapped for days by mud.
But many of the 64,000 people who remained on site as of Monday may choose to stay one more night and watch the festival's giant namesake effigy go up in flames on Monday night, one day past schedule, APA reports citing Reuters.
Unexpected summer rain turned the weeklong, annual counterculture arts festival into a muddy nightmare.
When the road finally reopened, a long line of vehicles snaked through the desert, inching along in an epic traffic jam as event organizers urged drivers to take it slowly on Monday and consider delaying their departure until Tuesday to reduce traffic.
Eventually the traffic formed into an organized exodus 10 lanes wide, an armada of recreational vehicles and cars seeking the promised land of a hot shower and a clean bed.
The way out is a 5-mile (8-km) dirt road to the nearest highway. The Burning Man Traffic account on social media platform X estimated "exodus" travel time at 5-1/2 hours.
The site in Nevada's Black Rock Desert sits atop the former Lake Lahontan, which the U.S. Geological Society describes as a deep lake that existed as recently as 15,000 years ago. It is about 15 miles (25 km) from the nearest town and 110 miles (177 km) north of Reno.
For days, up to 70,000 people were ordered to stay put and conserve food and water as officials closed the roads, requiring vehicles to stay put.