Halloween bonfires throughout Higher Victoria canceled with solely North Saanich and Colwood nonetheless holding out for rain

With wet weather in the forecast for the coming days, there may still be hope

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Finlayson Arm burns in early October. Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Oak Bay’s Halloween bonfire cancellation is among the latest series of annual bonfire celebrations that have been put on pause or delayed. Central Saanich, Esquimalt, Highlands, and Metchosin are among those who have canceled their annual bonfires.

This marks the third year that the bonfires have been a no-go, with the prior two cancellations being pandemic related.

North Saanich Fire Department Chief John Trelford said that he’s still hoping to have a bonfire and fireworks show and is waiting until the very last moment to make the call.

“It’s just going to be weather dependent,” he said. “If we ended up with four or five days of really solid rain, then I think we’re back in.”

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“We’re not going to make a decision without contacting our colleagues at the province and within the fire services there,” said Trelford.

Dry weather conditions have been cited as the primary reason for bonfire cancellations across Greater Victoria.

“It wouldn’t look too good if we had a big fire,” said Oak Bay firefighter Ryan Leigh about their decision to cancel the much anticipated event.

Though much-needed rain is finally in the forecast, much of the BC coast is currently under drought and heavy fire restrictions. Fire bans are in effect for much of Greater Victoria, with fireworks permits only being issued in Sydney at the moment.

North Saanich’s Halloween community bonfire has been happening for as long as Trelford—a 26-year veteran of the fire department—can remember. “It’s a pretty big deal for our community,” he said. The Halloween event usually draws over a thousand people to the North Saanich fire department’s parking lot.

In the past, North Saanich firefighters have handed out 800 hot dogs on Halloween night by donation, with proceeds going to the children’s charity Santa’s Anonymous. This year, it’s less certain what will happen.

“No matter what, we’ll figure out something and do something for the kids that day,” said Trelford.

For a more detailed look on how fire departments in Westshore communities are doing for Halloween this year, learn more in our sister publication here.

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