The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners on Monday drafted an emergency declaration for the rural county as part of the ongoing planning process, a sign that they are taking seriously the possibility that a surge of visitors could overwhelm campsites, fuel stops, and public medical, internet and cellphone services.
“Oh, we’re taking this seriously,” County Commission Chairman Varlin Higbee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “With the possibility of 35,000-40,000 people showing up, yeah, this is serious.”
Lincoln County Emergency Manager Eric Holt told the Review-Journal the pre-signing of the emergency declaration is due to the threat of local resources being at risk by the event, both emergency response and financial, due to personnel potentially working overtime.
Lawmakers also conditionally approved two events in tiny desert towns near the once top-secret US Air Force test area: one scheduled by Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel called Alienstock on September 20-22, and one hosted by The Alien Research Center souvenir shop in Hiko on September 20.
Little A’Le’Inn owner Connie West told FOX5 on Monday she's in the process of transforming 30 acres of land into where "Alienstock" will take place while figuring out how to bring in enough food, water, porta-potties, and fuel for those who come.
"I don’t think anybody could ever prepare for anything like this, but we're doing our absolute best and hopefully it turns out to be a phenomenal event," West said Monday.
Cory Lytle, the Lincoln County planning department director, told FOX5 the approvals were the "lesser of two evils" and could be revoked if the permit-holding organizers don't have insurance and traffic plans figured out by September 3.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told KLAS-TV on Monday his department is reaching out to "all our partners," including federal, state, and local agencies to find out what resources they'd be able to send. Lee's department only has 28 uniformed officers to cover 11,000 square miles.
"Again we don't know what to plan for," he said Monday. "We're only planning for the worst, and hoping for the best."
The mysterious area in Nevada has been in the headlines since June, when the Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All Of Us” went viral. It has seen millions of people confirming that they will “attend” a mass raid on the top-secret US base, which has turned into a magnet for UFO and conspiracy devotees. However, the event, scheduled for 20 September, is likely to become a festival in the desert following warnings from the US military, which has issued a statement saying that it "would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces."