With the end of the school year fast approaching, Penticton RCMP are urging students to refrain from participating in an annual tradition that involves going to a secluded spot near a forest and starting fires.
Along with the Penticton Fire Department, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and School District No. 67, police issued a warning on Friday, June 16, against the activity known as a “Sunset Party.”
“We aim to enlighten students who may wish to participate in these types of events about the associated dangers,” says Cpl. James Grandy. “Parents and guardians need to understand these are unauthorized activities.
“Students who overlook these risks could be hit with hefty fines.”
Locally, the tradition typically takes place in remote sections of Penticton’s Carmi Road and areas beyond Faulder, near Summerland, police said.
With drier-than-normal forest conditions this year, RCMP added that concerns over the activity are amplified for both the safety of students and also the community as a whole.
“Unprecedented drought-like conditions increase the likelihood of wildfires, turning these unsanctioned gatherings into potential ignition points for dangerous and uncontrollable fires,” the warning reads.
School District No. 67 has stated it does not endorse the activity and is “actively discouraging participation in the interest of student safety.”
The district says parents and guardians play a role in preventing their children from attending such events.
“By engaging in frank conversations about the dangers and potential legal consequences of participating, parents can significantly contribute to mitigating these unnecessary risks.”