The event could become a disaster as people struggle with the difficult conditions in Nevada without proper preparation, they have warned.
Those arriving to the tiny towns of Rachel and Hiko, near Area 51, are doing so because of a Facebook event that was one of the site’s most popular ever, before it was shut down. The page, which encouraged people to “see them aliens” and suggested that enough people raid the base then they couldn’t be stopped, is bringing an unknown number of people to Nevada to take part in the event.
Local officials have already signed emergency declarations in response to the event, and local residents warned people not to come. But the event is still likely to prove popular, leading people to take precautions against whatever might happen.
“We are preparing for the worst,” said Joerg Arnu, a Rachel resident who could see from his home a makeshift stage and cluster of portable toilets in a dusty area recently scraped of brush surrounding West’s little motel and cafe.
Arnu said he installed outdoor floodlights, fencing and “No Trespassing” signs on his 30-acre property. He’s also organised a radio-equipped night watch of neighbours, fearing there won’t be enough water, food, trash bins or toilets for visitors.
“Those that know what to expect camping in the desert are going to have a good time,” Arnu said. “Those who are looking for a big party are going to be disappointed.”
He predicts people showing up in the desert in shorts and flip-flops.
“That doesn’t protect you against critters, snakes and scorpions,” Arnu said. “It will get cold at night. They’re not going to find what they’re looking for, and they are going to get angry.”