Burning Man Attendees Trapped After Flooding Turns Land Into Mud Pit, 1 Death Investigation

Attendees walk through a muddy desert plain on September 2, 2023, after heavy rains turned the annual Burning Man festival site in Nevada’s Black Rock desert into a mud pit. Tens of thousands of drenched festivalgoers were stranded on September 3, 2023, in deep, sticky mud in the Nevada desert after torrential rain turned the annual Burning Man gathering into a quagmire. (Photo by JULIE JAMMOT/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:49 AM – Sunday, September 3, 2023

On Saturday, authorities were looking into a reported fatality at the 2023 Burning Man festival as thousands of people sought shelter indoors due to severe rain and floods that left them trapped in the Nevada desert.


The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office stated that the death occurred “during this rain event” in northern Nevada. No other information was made available right away, and neither the victim nor the likely cause of death were made public by local authorities. A probe is still being conducted.

The counterculture festival’s organizers advised guests to stay dry and warm while preserving food, liquids, and gasoline throughout the downpours. The entrance to Black Rock City, Nevada, where the event is being held, as well as the airport, are still closed.

Event organizers also noted that emergency vehicles are the only cars permitted to drive on or leave the premises.

The National Weather Service in Reno said that the venue was likely to have received more than half an inch of rain on Friday. Rainfall of at least another half an inch is predicted for Sunday.

At the event venue, roughly 110 miles north of Reno, revelers could also be seen walking through the muck, with many going barefoot or even putting plastic bags over their feet.

The Reno Gazette Journal stated that ice sales have been restricted and that there was no longer any car traffic on the expansive festival grounds, making it impossible to maintain the portable restrooms.

Burning Man, which commenced this year on August 27th, has a yearly tradition to burn a ginormous wooden effigy at the festival; however, the event was canceled on Saturday night before festival-goers could take part in the ritual.

Although, other incoming reports noted that organizers would try to reschedule the effigy burning for Sunday night instead.

USA Today reported that around 73,000 festival goers, or “burners,” as they refer to themselves, had attended this year’s celebration of music and art.

This year’s theme was “Animalia,” and the Burning Man website says that the theme “will celebrate the animal world and our place in it — animals real and imagined, mythic and remembered — and explore the curious mental constructs that allow us to believe that imagined animals are real, real animals are imagined, and that somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, mankind is somehow not part of the animal kingdom.”

The event was scheduled to come to a close on Monday.

This is a developing story. More updates to come.

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