FACT CHECK: Did 13 People Die At The Burning Man Music Festival?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A viral video shared on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, claims 13 people purportedly died at this year’s Burning Man music festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.

Verdict: Misleading

Only one death at the festival has been reported, according to NBC News.

Fact Check:

Attendees of this year’s Burning Man music festival joined massive cleanup efforts to clear debris from the Nevada desert, according to NBC News. Mud as a result of heavy rain will likely impact the cleanup efforts, the outlet reported.

“Nevada, USA Update: 13 dead and thousands trapped in heavy rain and mud at the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert. Situation is critical: these were avoidable deaths,” the X video, viewed 12,000 times, purports. The video shows rainy and muddy conditions that occurred at this year’s festival.

The claim that 13 people died at the festival is misleading, however. Only one person has been reported dead, according to NBC News.

Leon Reece, a 32-year-old from California, was found unresponsive on the festival grounds, according to local authorities, NBC News reported. While the authorities’ efforts to reach Reece were delayed due to the rain that impacted the festival, they ultimately declared him dead at the scene. Reece’s cause and manner of death remain unconfirmed, but drugs are believed to have played a role, the outlet indicated.

Likewise, the Burning Man music festival neither referenced the claim about the purported 13 deaths via its website nor its social media accounts. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office also has not released statements publicly commenting on the claim. (RELATED: Viral X Video Does Not Show Vehicle That Tried To Escape Burning Man Festival)

Check Your Fact has contacted both the Burning Man music festival and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

This is not the first time incorrect information involving the Burning Man music festival has circulated online. Check Your Fact previously debunked a social media post purporting LAX airport in Los Angeles was evacuated after Ebola patients arrived from the Burning Man Festival.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter