An investigation has been opened into a death that occurred at the US festival during unprecedented rainfall. Roads in and out of the festival have been closed due to the extreme weather leaving some 72,000 festival-goers stranded.
Attendees of Burning Man have been urged to take shelter after the site has been closed along with access to and from the festival due to extreme rain. The festival, which takes place annually in the Nevada desert, was subject to heavy rainfall which turned the site into a “mud pit” and led to the closure of the entrances and exits to the festival.
While there have been reports of a death that police said took place “during this rain event”, the Pershing County sheriff’s office stated the cause of death remains uncertain and is currently under investigation. Burning Man Communications have said in a statement that the death was “unrelated to the weather”.
A statement as been issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the organization responsible for overseeing the land where the event occurs. “Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa,” the statement reads. “More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa.”.
The rainfall has been the longest and heaviest to occur since the festival began more than 30 years ago. Festival organisers have said that roads in and out of the site should re-open on Monday (weather permitting), though some “Burners” have decided to embark on the 5 mile trek to the nearest road as people were allegedly told to ration food and fuel in addition to accounts that the toilets are out of service.
Reports are now stating that as of this morning the boggy ground has dried enough for vehicles to drive on without getting stuck, and festival organisers have said they are prepared for the mass exit of people to take place. The annual burning of a 40ft wooden effigy has also been postponed until Monday evening.