Tens of thousands of “burners” at the Burning Man festival have been told to stay in the camps, conserve food and water and are being blocked from leaving Nevada’s Black Rock desert after a slow-moving rainstorm turned the event into a mud bath. No driving is permitted on the playa except for emergency vehicles, and temperatures in the desert dipped into the 50s.
The Pershing County sheriff’s office said an investigation had been launched into the death of a person at the festival, though no details have been given about the circumstances. The person’s family has been notified, the sheriff’s office added.
As of noon Saturday, Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management declared the entrance to Burning Man shut down for good. “Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa. More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa.
There was no estimated time for reopening. The event is officially over on Monday, but many attendees begin leaving Saturday night or Sunday. However the wet weather showed no signs of easing.
The weather-related disruptions have caused suspension of the cleaning and emptying of thousands of portable toilets. Event organizers have said more rain was expected through Sunday before the festivals ends on Monday.
Last year, Burning Man drew approximately 80,000 people. This year, only about 60,000 were expected – with many citing the usual heat and dust and eight-hour traffic jams when they tried to leave.
Featured photo by: Mark Fromson
Video by: Josh Keppel