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Burning Man revelers stranded in Nevada desert by rain and mud

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(Reuters) -Tens of thousands of revelers attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert have been asked to shelter in place and conserve food and water on Saturday after a rainstorm turned the site into mud.

Access to and from Black Rock City, the event’s site, was closed “for the remainder of the event,” organizers said in a statement on social media.

“Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa,” the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the agency that manages the land on which the event takes place, said in a statement. “More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa,”

Thick, pasty mud surrounded Paul Reder’s RV on Saturday afternoon, as scattered patches of blue tried to break through the gray cloud cover above him.

“Fortunately we’re in a fairly big camp with a lot of supplies,” Reder told Reuters during a video call. “As a community, everybody’s sharing with each other.”

Reder, who has been attending the event for 22 years, said he expected it would take at least two days for the area to dry out. While he was prepared to ride it out, Reder said some attendees are leaving the site on foot and trekking to the nearest highway.

Black Rock City saw more than half an inch of rain drop overnight, organizers estimated.

More than 60,000 participants travel to and from the remote area in northwest Nevada every year, according to the event’s website, gathering in the temporary city to make art, dance, and enjoy community. Local media reported there were more than 70,000 “burners” in Black Rock City.

The festival gets its name from its culminating event, the burning of a large wooden structure called the Man on the penultimate night.

The gathering, which originated as a small function in 1986 on a San Francisco beach and is now also attended by celebrities and social media influencers, was scheduled to run from Aug. 27 until Sept. 4.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani, Editing by Diane Craft)

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