One person died at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert as thousands of people remained trapped at the event site after heavy rains led to the area being covered in thick, ankle-deep mud.

Officials were forced to halt anyone entering or leaving the festival and attendees were told to conserve food, water, and fuel in the Black Rock Desert after the area was hit with 2 to 3 months’ worth of rain in just 24 hours. The clay-like mud created in the area made it quite difficult for festivalgoers to walk or bike through.

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According to a forecast from the National Weather Service office in Reno, more rain is likely Sunday afternoon. “Stronger storms will be capable of very heavy rainfall, small hail, and wind gusts to 40+ mph,” the weather service noted.

Where is the Burning Man Festival held?

The Burning Man is a festival that is focused on “community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.” It is held annually in the western United States.

Since 1991, the event has been located at Black Rock City in northwestern Nevada, a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert about 100 miles north-northeast of Reno. 

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The event originated on June 22, 1986, on Baker Beach in San Francisco. Originally, the vent started as a small function organized by Larry Harvey and Jerry James, who are the founders of the first Burning Man. It has since been held annually, spanning nine days till Labor Day. Attendance at the festival has gradually increased over the event’s history. In 2019, 78,850 people participated in the event. In 2021, the event was attended by 20,000 attendees.

According to NPR, Burning Man, “Once considered an underground gathering for bohemians and free spirits of all stripes, Burning Man has since evolved into a destination for social media influencers, celebrities, and the Silicon Valley elite.”

The name of the event is derived from its culminating ceremony, the symbolic burning of a large wooden effigy, referred to as the Man.