Man dies as Burning Man festival descends into chaos after flash flooding - leaving thousands stranded

3 September 2023, 10:30

Flash flooding has hit Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA
Flash flooding has hit Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA. Picture: social media/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

An investigation has been launched into the death of a man at Burning Man in Nevada after the festival was hit by torrential rain and flash flooding.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Thousands of festival attendees were forced to trudge through mud - many barefoot or wearing plastic bags on their feet - as flooding from storms swept through the Nevada desert.

Organisers closed vehicle access to the festival on Saturday, with attendees told to conserve their food and water as poor weather continues.

Gates to the festival will remain closed for the remainder of the event, which was scheduled to end on Monday.

It is understood more than an inch of rain fell at the festival site on Friday, which is located about 110 miles north of Reno.

Another quarter of an inch of rain is expected to hit the festival grounds on Sunday.

The Reno Gazette Journal reported that organisers started rationing ice sales and that all vehicle traffic at the sprawling festival grounds had been stopped, leaving portable toilets unable to be serviced.

Officials have not yet said when the entrance is expected to be opened again, and it was not immediately known when celebrants could leave the grounds.

An inch of rain fell at the festival on Friday
An inch of rain fell at the festival on Friday. Picture: social media

Read More: Exact day UK will be hit by 30C heatwave next week before wet and windy end to washout summer

Read More: Two XL bully dogs shot dead after killing 22 pregnant sheep and injuring dozens of others

The announcements came just before the culminating moment for the annual event - when a large wooden effigy was to be burned Saturday night.

Many people played beer pong, danced and splashed in standing water, the Gazette Journal said.

Mike Jed, a festival-goer, and fellow campers made a bucket toilet so people did not have to trudge as often through the mud to reach the portable toilets.

"If it really turns into a disaster, well, no-one is going to have sympathy for us," Mr Jed said. "I mean, it's Burning Man."