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The small Nevada county that’s home to the secret military base Area 51 isn’t ready for the millions of people trying to “see them aliens.” In fact, its officials just voted to be able to declare a state of emergency.
Lincoln County has just 184 hotel rooms, two gas stations, one grocery store, and one hospital. And their emergency medical personnel are all volunteers. So the county commission voted unanimously Monday for an eventual emergency declaration, which would allocate additional resources from the state to help manage the crowds for the “Storm Area 51” Facebook event.
Even if a fraction of the 2 million people who RSVPd show up, attendance would put a serious strain on the resources of the tiny towns in the county.
“We passed this with the caveat that this may or may not happen,” Kevin Phillips, one of the commissioners of Lincoln County told the Reno Gazette Journal. “We have no pickin’ idea what we’re going to face — if anything.”
With a population of 50, the small town of Rachel, where the event is set to take place, isn’t thrilled. A hotel owner there told the Associated Press that she’s expecting 10,000 people to show up. Plus, there’s an alien exposition planned at the Alien Research Center down the road in Hiko, Nevada.
“With the social media attention this event is getting we want to clarify a few points for those not familiar with this area. Other than the Little A’Le’Inn, a small bar/restaurant/motel there are no services in Rachel,” the town posted to its website. “There is no gas and no store.”
If the visitors do try to storm Area 51, they’ll have to get through security stationed at the border of government property. The Air Force has even been forced to address the situation.
“We don’t want civilian people in contact with the military at all,” County Commission Chairman Varlin Higbee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That will get ugly. Understand that is a military base, and regardless of whether that base is in Afghanistan, Syria or wherever, it’s still a base and they’re going to protect it, just as if it were in a foreign country.”
The whole mess started when a guy named Matty Roberts, after listening to an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast, created the event as a joke on Facebook. But after his plans took off, he pivoted and tried to make a buck by turning the event into “Alienstock,” a UFO-themed festival slated for September 19.
Cover image: In this July 22, 2019 file photo, Linda Looney wipes her face outside of the Alien Research Center, a gift shop on the Extraterrestrial Highway, in Crystal Springs, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.