Death reported at Burning Man festival in Nevada as thousands of attendees get stranded by monsoon flooding

Event organizers told the more than 73,000 people attending the Burning Man festival to hunker down, conserve resources and prepare for more rain and flooding.

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev. – Tens of thousands of people who were attending the Burning Man festival in remote western Nevada remain stranded and have been told to shelter in place after monsoon rains led to flash flooding, and local authorities confirmed that they are investigating at least one death that was reported during the rain event.

Event organizers told the more than 73,000 people attending the Burning Man festival to hunker down, conserve resources and prepare for more rain and flooding.

"Look out for your neighbors, introduce yourself," event organizers said in a statement. "Conserve your food, water and fuel. If you have extra, share with your neighbors. This is always common sense in a wilderness environment."

Those who attend the Burning Man festival must be self-sufficient by bringing all their essential living needs. Cell service is also not readily available, and only some people can access satellite internet for updates.


At least 1 dead at Burning Man 

Roads into and out of the Burning Man festival were closed until further notice, and most festival operations have been halted or significantly delayed, according to the Pershing County Sheriff's Office.

Heavy rain pounded the area for several hours, leading to a muddy mess and conditions that made it virtually impossible for vehicles to drive on the playa. Those conditions continued on Sunday, but some vehicles were able to make it out.

"Some vehicles with (4-wheel drive) and all-terrain tires are able to navigate the mud and are successfully leaving," officials said in a statement. "But we are seeing most other types of vehicles that try to depart getting stuck in the wet mud, which hampers everyone's Exodus."

Burning Man organizers said that since it's still too wet and muddy, roads have remained closed.

The sheriff's office said there had been some group of people who were able to walk to a local road and were awaiting transport by Burning Man staff.

The sheriff's office also said it was investigating a death that occurred during the rain and flooding.

Officials provided few details but said the victim’s family had been notified, and the death would remain under investigation.


More rain expected across the region

The National Weather Service in Reno said cool and unsettled weather will continue on Sunday, with more rounds of showers and thunderstorms expected. A few of those storms could be strong across western Nevada, but warmer and drier conditions would move in on Labor Day.

Black Rock Playa, where the Burning Man festival takes place, was formed from the remnants of Lake Lahontan, which disappeared about 9,000 years ago.

The organizers of the Burning Man festival encouraged those who were attending the festival to bring goggles or face coverings due to the extreme weather conditions that have caused issues with blowing sand and dust in the past.

Last year, during a western heat wave, the festival was almost ruined by a dust and wind combination. Visibility dropped to almost zero, causing concertgoers to wander through Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

Flood alerts in effect through Sunday, September 3, 2023.
(FOX Weather)


Flood Watches remain in effect across central and northern Nevada, northwestern Utah, southern Idaho and eastern Oregon due to the heavy rain that is forecast.

Those will remain in effect through Sunday.