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One dead, thousands stranded after monsoon flooding at annual Burning Man festival in Nevada desert


One death was reported at the annual Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert after a late-summer storm stranded thousands of partygoers.

More than a half-inch of rain fell at the festival site on Friday, according to the National Weather, with more rain Saturday and Sunday, creating flooding and foot-deep mud. Water and food shortages were reported and there was no working toilet system.

The gathering in the Black Rock Desert about 110 miles north of Reno attracts nearly 80,000 artists, musicians and revelers for a mix of camping and avant-garde performances.

Organizers closed the festival to vehicles after one death was reported. Officials provided no details of the fatality.

On their website, organizers encouraged participants to remain calm and suggested that the festival is built to endure conditions like the flooding. They said cellphone trailers were being dropped in several locations Saturday night and that they would be briefly opening up internet overnight. Shuttle buses were also being organized to take attendees to Reno from the nearest town of Gerlach, a walk of about five miles from the site.

The event began on Aug. 27 and had been scheduled to end Monday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Black Rock Desert, where the festival was held.

John Asselin, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, said he had seen “a steady stream” of vehicles leaving the festival site.