More than 2 million social media users have RSVP’d to a Facebook event to raid Area 51 and “see them aliens,” prompting a Nevada county to pass an emergency declaration ― the second one approved this month.
Nye County commissioners on Wednesday greenlighted the presigned measure less than 10 days after Lincoln County voted to do the same in preparation for the September event.
The declaration “allows the county to expedite the process of requesting help from the state should an emergency arise, including reimbursement for some costs incurred during the event,” according to a Facebook post from the county.
A draft of the order says the county would be empowered to impose a curfew, barricade streets, close gas stations and prohibit the sale of alcohol, among other measures.
The Facebook event page “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” gained widespread attention earlier this summer after being created as an apparent joke on UFO hunters looking to visit the U.S. Air Force base, which has long been enshrouded in secrecy. However, things got out of hand when it went viral.
In July, California resident Matty Roberts revealed that he was behind the page, telling CBS affiliate KLAS-TV that it was only intended for laughs, but that it “completely took off out of nowhere.”
That month, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews warned those serious about storming the area to think twice.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” she told The Washington Post. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
The event has since been turned into a planned music festival dubbed “Alienstock,” which is set to occur on Sept. 20 in the town of Rachel on the so-called Extraterrestrial Highway, which lies right next to Area 51. It is not yet clear what will occur and how many people will attend, but according to the event’s website, there will be live performances and food available.
Though it is highly unlikely the event’s supposed attendees will all show up, the festival presents a very real challenge to rural communities like Rachel, which has a population of roughly 50 people.
During Nye County’s recent meeting, an Amargosa Valley resident raised concerns over his community’s ability to handle a sudden influx of visitors, pointing out that it doesn’t even have a police force.
Should Alienstock take place, even a small crowd could pose difficulties for the area.
Voicing support for the county’s emergency declaration, Director of Emergency Management Scott Lewis noted that “it gives us the ability in the event of a true disaster or something that is overwhelming our systems to simply execute [action],” calling it “a preparedness piece.”