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Renegade Burning Man festival in Nevada desert winds down

September 7, 2021 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Authorities say most of the thousands of people who showed up for a “renegade” Burning Man festival are leaving the Black Rock Desert area.

Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he estimates at least 15,000 people came to the unofficial event.

He said visitors had to contend with high temperatures, little shade and smoke from wildfires.

One man was hospitalized after falling 50 feet (15 meters) while parasailing. Allen said he suffered several broken bones and other injuries. His condition was not immediately available.

Three people were arrested. One arrest was for driving while intoxicated. Another was for assault with a deadly weapon and the third was for an out-of-state warrant.

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The actual Burning Man was canceled by organizers for a second straight year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 5,000 people gathered last year for their own Burning Man.

That event regularly draws more than 80,000 people to the playa, a two-hour drive north of Reno.

Since becoming sheriff in 2015, Allen has aimed to crack down on crime at the annual festival. He is also concerned about trash and debris left behind with no organization to enforce clean-up.