Tens of thousands of revellers at the Burning Man festival have been told to shelter in place and conserve food and water, after a heavy storm flooded the area and left attendees stranded in disastrous conditions.
About 70,000 people are effectively trapped and can’t leave the event after a rainstorm pummelled the desert playground and turned it into a swampy mud pit.
Organisers warned on Saturday that the gate and airport into Black Rock City, the remote area of north-west Nevada where the event is held, was closed and no driving would be allowed in and out the area except for emergency vehicles.
“Do not travel to Black Rock City! Access to the city is closed for the remainder of the event, and you will be turned around,” the organisers said on X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter.
“If you are in BRC (Black Rock City) please shelter in place and stay safe… Check on your campmates and neighbours to make sure they’re ok, and help them as needed. Take advantage of a moment of calm to connect with campmates and hunker down.”
Social media photos and videos also painted a disaster zone, with party goers trying to make their way through muddy outdoor dance floors, while stages and campsites were soaking wet, with dark clouds on the horizon.
About 15 centimetres of rain is believed to have fallen on Friday (US time) at the festival site and more heavy rains are expected late Saturday into Sunday.
Burning Man is a counterculture festival that began in 1986 and is best known for its concluding event, in which a giant, humanesque sculpture is set alight.