CALIENTE (KTNV) — Emergency managers and first responders are preparing for potentially thousands of people to converge in an extremely rural area in Lincoln County Nevada near the famed Area 51.
The sparsely populated county has just 5,400 residents and officials are expecting two alien-themed festivals to swell that population to more than 30,000 in late September.
"My biggest concern is the safety of our community and the intentions of the people who are coming," said Eric Holt, Lincoln County Emergency Manager.
For the past several weeks since news broke of the viral Facebook event which claimed to have people attempt to storm Area 51 to see aliens, has evolved into at least two music and entertainment festivals.
Holt is warning people who live in the rural county to prepare as if a storm is coming.
“We’re also messaging to our communities that they fill up prior to the event so that our community folks aren’t left without fuel in their own vehicles," explained Holt.
Holt says the rural area is only accessible by two lane roads that are not designed to handle larges amounts of vehicles.
"It poses a challenge for traffic, it's also limited on cellular coverage," said Holt.
The nearest hospital, the Grover C. Dils Medical Center, is located in Caliente, or about 90 minutes by vehicle from the epicenter of the planned festival.
"It's been stressful, a little frustrating because we don't know, it's the unknown for us it's the unknown for this little community," said Missie Rowe, hospital administrator.
The hospital has a total of 20 beds, 16 of which are used by long-term residents.
Rowe says the emergency room has 3 beds but has space to accommodate additional patients.
“We beefed up staffing for that time, we’ve ordered in additional supplies and medications that we feel we would need and as a team will just pull together and make it happen," said Rowe.
Stay with 13 Action News for further coverage on these events.