Burning Man

BREAKING: Tragic death reported as Burning Man struggles amid extreme weather

Black Rock Desert, Nevada – The annual Burning Man festival descended into disarray this weekend as relentless rainstorms transformed the desert gathering into a muddy mess, leaving one person dead and tens of thousands stranded.


The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office announced Sunday that it is investigating the circumstances around a death that occurred at the event, though no details on the deceased’s identity or cause have been released yet. The tragedy came amid a complete shutdown of the weeklong festivities due to flooding and hazardous conditions.


For days, severe thunderstorms have pummeled the normally arid Black Rock Desert, flooding the area with relentless downpours. The deluge turned the dusty landscape into a quagmire that halted activities and rendered roads impassable. Organizers barred all vehicular access to the makeshift city and urged participants to conserve resources while sheltering in place.


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With no way for vehicles to traverse the thick, clay-like mud, attendees have been forced to evacuate the area by foot, trudging five miles through pouring rain and ankle-deep sludge to wait for transportation. Some donned plastic bags as impromptu rainboots while others went barefoot on the precarious walk.


Shuttle buses are transporting some of the estimated 70,000 people from the nearest town of Gerlach to Reno amid the ongoing access complications. Meanwhile, morale remains upbeat within the stranded tent city as participants distribute supplies and take the disruption in stride.


The full impact of the unprecedented conditions remains unclear, as emergency crews continue working to reopen roads in and out of the playa. With the main event canceled, Burning Man now faces perhaps its greatest test of radical self-reliance since moving to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert over 30 years ago.


Image credit: Viaggio Routard via Flickr 


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