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Government warns of beach bonfires

Broken bottles and the remnants of a bonfire on Elbow Beach (Photograph by Dalton Stovell)

Beachgoers have been warned by the Bermuda Government not to light bonfires without adhering to a strict policy set by the Ministry of the Environment.

According to environment minister Cole Simons, there have been reports of illegal bonfires on certain beaches which have left behind dangerous debris.

“Frequently, dangerous debris is left behind that could hurt other beachgoers,” Mr Simons said. “Anyone holding a bonfire must apply for a permit from the Department of Parks in advance and agree to the bonfire policy before receiving a permit.”

A strict beach bonfire policy must be observed and the following beaches may be subject to further restrictions: John Smith’s Bay; Elbow Beach; Horseshoe Bay Beach; Whale Bay Beach and Tobacco Bay, said a ministry statement.

“Bermuda’s beaches fall under the protection of the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986 and The Bermuda National Parks Regulations 1988.”

The bonfire policy states, in part, that:

• Bonfires must be lit on beaches only

• Fires must be housed in or on a metal apparatus (eg, a metal barbecue)

• Burning fully assembled pallets is strictly prohibited

• Bonfires must be under the care and direction of a competent adult

• All bonfires must be thoroughly extinguished and properly disposed of by the end of the period granted by the permit

“The Ministry of the Environment encourages all beach users to ensure that Bermuda’s national parks remain a place of recreation and enjoyment for everyone,” added the statement. “Responsible disposal of any debris from beach bonfires will keep our beaches safe for all.”