(CNN) — Yes, people are seriously planning to go to Area 51 on September 20, and Rachel, Nevada, has no vacancy to prove it.
“I cannot believe it’s gotten this much attention. We deal with this on a weekly basis but nothing to this scale,” Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told CNN.
However, the big problem remains: If more people come, where will they stay?
To make matters worse, Rachel’s only gas station closed in 2006, so visitors will have to fill their tanks 50 miles away in Alamo, Nevada.
The next closest town to get lodging is also Alamo, and most of the hotels are already booked or have very low availability.
Safety of the tourists is a top concern
An Alien sculpture lines the side of the road in the town of Baker, California, also known as the ‘Gateway to Area 51’ on March 4, 2019.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Sheriff Lee said that the normal draw for that time of year is hunting and mountain biking, but it only brings in a few hundred tourists. Even a thousand visitors could put a strain on emergency services.
“We could probably handle it, but it could definitely cause issues. Heaven forbid the number is 5,000 people where you almost double the size of the county,” Lee said.
But the number of people isn’t even Lee’s main concern. He said exposure to the environment is what he is worried about.
“I could see people with a lot of heat-related issues, and with our limited resources up here it could definitely jeopardize their safety. The number of people could overwhelm our EMS in a hurry,” he said.