Vancouver police worried about summer party beach fires
After stomping out 247 fires on city beaches in last summer, Vancouver police are reminding the public that bonfires — and the drunken people they attract — are a risk to public safety.
Const. Brian Montague told 24 hours on Wednesday beach fires usually spring up during warmer months particularly as youths break from school for summer.
“It’s not so much the fire aspect of it, but the other concerns it brings, which is large groups of alcohol-fuelled youth,” he said.
Montague described the issue as a problem police have to deal with regularly.
“Fights, disturbances, stabbings, we want to avoid that,” he said, adding that the bonfires also prevent others from enjoying the city’s beaches appropriately.
“It makes others who want to enjoy themselves on the beach uncomfortable or fearful sometimes. The purpose of putting out these bonfires is public safety.”
The fire numbers are being reported to the Vancouver Police Board on Thursday. The report said the force’s beach patrol team was deployed on all-terrain vehicles from May 18 to Sept. 2 last year. During that time, they had to pour out liquor 3,671 times.
At the same time, 158 violation tickets and 33 bylaw citations were also issued.
The force said the problem is of increasing concern in its patrol District 4 area, which covers Vancouver’s west side.
Beaches there include Kitsilano, Jericho and Spanish Banks.
“This proactive and high-visibility effort continues to be the most effective way of quelling alcohol-fuelled disturbances and maintaining safety on the beaches,” the report said.