South Okanagan student bush partiers get the 'no bonfire' message | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan student bush partiers get the 'no bonfire' message

Warning messages from the regional district and Penticton RCMP appear to have found their mark with Penticton high school students attending the annual 'Sunrise' bush party with no fires or major incidents reported.
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September 06, 2017 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - An exceptionally dangerous year for wildfires prompted the regional district to issue a warning prior to the traditional back-to-school bush party graduating Penticton high school students participate in and it seems to have worked.

Each year grade 12 students find a spot in the bush to celebrate the first day of the last year in high school with a so-called 'Sunrise' party, which usually involves a bonfire.

The regional district warning pointed out penalties for such things as dropping a cigarette, contravening fire bylaws and the fines for starting a wildfire, all in an effort to get students to consider the consequences of their actions.

The notice appears to have worked with no new fires were reported last night, Sept. 5.

Penticton RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Andrew Baylis says officers made several pro-active patrols at the party, speaking to several individuals about the risk of fires and offences related to starting them. Baylis said police were called to two fights, but otherwise report no other incidences.

Okanagan Skaha School District superintendent Wendy Hyer says to her knowledge some Penticton students participated in the event last night, but had not heard of any incidents.

“To be clear, this is not a school sanctioned event and schools send home communique to parents indicating this is not a school event and that we have serious concerns about student safety,” Hyer said in an email.

“While this event seems to be a community ‘tradition,’ it is not a tradition the district condones, as the safety of our youth is a concern,” she said.

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