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A Man Was Burned To Death When He Ran Directly Into Fire Last Night At Burning Man

Last night during the main burn of the effigy that Burning Man celebrates each year, every Saturday night of the festival tragedy struck. The burning man effigy is over 50 feet tall and gives off a tremendous amount of heat. So much so a safety perimeter is set up to keep attendees safe from the burning structure. Firefighters are on scene to make sure if anything goes wrong, they are able to control the situation immediately.

Last night Aaron Mitchell, a 41 year old man broke the safety perimeter and ran directly into the burning effigy. Firefighters courageously ran into the flames and retrieved the man. While he was treated for intense burns both on site and later at a hospital, he officially succumbed to his wounds this morning. Below can you find pictures from Reuters of the man's run into the flames. Though we do caution those who are easily disturbed as these do show what would ultimately be the last actions of Aaron Mitchell before his passing.

Beneath the pictures you can also find a statement from Burning Man surrounding the tragedy and some resources for dealing with traumatic events. Our thoughts are entirely with the friends and family of Aaron at the moment as well as the entire Burning Man community.

Official Statement From Burning Man

Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, succumbed Sunday morning to injuries suffered after breaking through a safety perimeter Saturday night and running into a fire at the annual Burning Man event in northern Nevada.

Mr. Mitchell’s family has been advised of his death. Burning Man is working with local and federal law enforcement agencies, and an investigation is currently ongoing.

After being pulled from the fire by Black Rock City fire personnel, Mr. Mitchell was treated on scene, transported to the on-site medical facility, and airlifted to UC Davis Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center. He succumbed after arriving at the burn center.

The Burning Man organization canceled scheduled burns through noon Sunday but will proceed with the scheduled Temple burn at 8 p.m. Sunday night.

We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly. We are working to make resources available to those affected. Here are some available now:

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Emotional support teams have been made available to participants and staff. For people on playa, the Zendo Project is providing peer counseling at their space at 5:15 & A. Support staff from our Emergency Services Department’s Crisis Intervention Team are stationed at 3:00 & C, 9:00 & C, and 5:30 & Esplanade. Please seek them out.

If you are not on playa and are feeling the need to talk to someone, don’t wait. You can reach 24/7 crisis and suicide hotlines at 1-800-273-8255 or 775-784-8090. You can also text LISTEN to 839863.

Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep. We have found this article helpful for understanding how trauma affects us: “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma”.

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