One Death Reported as Thousands of Burning Man Attendees Stranded in Rain, Mud in Desert

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
September 3, 2023US News
One Death Reported as Thousands of Burning Man Attendees Stranded in Rain, Mud in Desert
A satellite view shows the center camp during the 2023 Burning Man festival, in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, on Aug. 28, 2023.(Maxar Technologies/Handout via Reuters)

A heavy rainstorm in the Nevada desert has left tens of thousands of Burning Man festival attendees stuck, transforming the region into a muddy expanse with one death reported.

The attendees have been asked to shelter in place and conserve food and water.

The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office announced a death at the festival, saying it happened “during this rain event.” The authorities offered few details and did not name the deceased or the suspected cause of death, KNSD-TV reported.

The entry and exit to Black Rock City, the location of the event, will be shut “for the event’s duration,” Burning Man organizers announced on social media on Sept. 2.

NTD Photo
People use plastic bags to cover their shoes as others are seen with their boots covered in mud at the site of the Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada, on Sept. 2, 2023. (Paul Reder/via Reuters)

“The gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed. Ingress and egress are halted until further notice,” the organizers advised. “No driving is permitted except emergency vehicles. If you are in [Black Rock City], conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space.”

“Do not travel to Black Rock City! Access to the city is closed for the remainder of the event, and you will be turned around,” another post said.

They noted at 7:42 p.m. local time that the gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City remain closed.

The organizers estimated that over half an inch of rain had fallen on Black Rock City overnight. More rain is forecast.

“Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa,” the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the agency that manages the area, said in a statement. “More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa.”

The festival was scheduled to take place this year from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4.

The event’s website notes that upwards of 60,000 people travel to the remote region in northwest Nevada each year for the festival’s art, dance, and community. This year, local news sources pegged the number of “burners” in Black Rock City at over 70,000.

The festival, which began as a small function in 1986 on a beach in San Francisco, gets its name from an event where a 40-foot wooden effigy called the Man gets burned.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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