Burning Man lifts lockdown, says 'exodus' from muddy venue is underway

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Organizers lifted a virtual lockdown for the annual Burning Man festival Monday, allowing attendees’ annual “exodus” to begin after a weekend of rain and mud isolated the Nevada desert venue.

Monday is traditionally the day most people leave the weeklong celebration of countercultural music and arts, but this year the green light for departure unlocked a venue beset by impassable roads, muddy tents, and a more than 5-mile hike to get out following heavy rains.

Sgt. Nathan Carmichael of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said he didn’t believe a significant number of patrons would stay for the customary end-of-event burning in effigy, given their isolation in rain and mud for a weekend of what was supposed to be a major party.

“There’s a very large line of people trying to leave right now,” he said.