Desert Revelers Stranded
An estimated 70,000 festival-goers were stranded in the Nevada desert over the weekend after heavy rains created large swaths of impassable mud zones, halting events at the annual Burning Man gathering. Officials said they were investigating one death at the site, though it was unrelated to the conditions.
The weeklong event—known for its art, communal activities and atmosphere, and burning of effigies—is held in a 7-square-mile temporary city on the Black Rock Desert playa. One of the flattest places on Earth, the normally arid region saw between two to three months' worth of precipitation over the course of 24 hours. The downpour almost immediately transformed the dry desert surface into a thick layer of mud. Most vehicles became trapped and officials urged attendees to conserve resources, while some made the five-mile hike to the nearest town.
Roads out of the venue, which typically see a mass exodus each year, are expected to be passable today. See photos from the week here.