Dust storm causes some to leave Burning Man early | NevadaAppeal.com

Dust storm causes some to leave Burning Man early

'The Man' burns during the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nev., on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Brad Horn)

RENO (AP) ” A dust storm caused some participants to leave the counterculture Burning Man festival before its traditional climax Saturday night on the northern Nevada desert.

Roger Farschon is incident commander for the federal Bureau of Land Management.

He says the dust storm on the Black Rock Desert about 110 miles north of Reno began early Saturday afternoon and whiteout conditions continued into the evening.

The annual celebration of radical self-expression was scheduled to climax Saturday night with the torching of its 40-foot signature effigy.

Authorities reported the crowd Saturday morning reached a record 49,599, up from 47,097 last year.

Farschon says he’s unaware of any fatalities or major arrests during the weeklong event leading up to Labor Day.

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The BLM had issued 129 citations to participants through early Saturday morning, with many for drug violations.