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Dry, windy weather may snuff out annual Beat ‘SC bonfire again

By Joanne Hou

Nov. 28, 2007 10:45 pm

The unfavorable weather conditions last year that forced the cancellation of the bonfire at the Beat ‘SC Parade may also affect this year’s parade.

But even if the bonfire is not lit, the traditional parade is expected to take place as planned. Organizers will also have arranged rooter sections for the first time this year, which will serve as viewing areas along the parade route that students can reserve.

Last year the bonfire was scrapped when the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning, which indicates weather conditions with fast winds and low humidity that are conducive to the spread of fires, that lasted through the time of the scheduled bonfire.

Steve Jurado, assistant fire marshal of UCLA, said the fire department hopes to allow the bonfire to proceed as planned, but would cancel the event if there is a red flag warning that lasts through Thursday night, when the parade takes place.

“We want the event to take place, but we also want to be conscientious neighbors,” Jurado said.

Concerns about the possible hazards of lighting the bonfire come at a time when wildfires engulfed many areas in Southern California. Yesterday, a red flag warning was issued from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. or until further notice.

The department is going to monitor the weather conditions minute-by-minute until close to the time of the bonfire to decide whether to have it.

Though students celebrated without the bonfire last year, many students still would like to see it lit this year.

“It’s probably good to have a social event to bring up the spirits of the UCLA students. It’s good to have people in a positive mentality to support the team,” said Jack Zhou, a third-year business economics student.

The rest of the parade this year is going to be larger and more diverse, said Manaf Mansure, executive director of Blue and Gold Week 2007.

“It’s going to showcase a lot more facets of the campus,” Mansure said.

The parade will comprise many floats done by campus organizations and performances by the UCLA marching band.

Chancellor Gene Block and his wife are expected to participate along with 32 entrants who are competing for the many trophies handed out at the parade. A total of 40 campus organizations and offices are expected to be showcased.

This year’s parade features one major addition, which is the creation of five viewing sections along the parade route called the rooter sections.

Any student or group may reserve one of these areas along the parade route to cheer. Additionally, parade participants would also be able to showcase any performances they have prepared at each of the sections.

“Everyone (in the rooter sections) would have the same parade experience,” Mansure said.

The rooter section participants would receive Blue and Gold giveaways and would compete for the Most Spirited Rooter Section Award. The grand marshal at this year’s parade is the 2007 women’s water polo team, which won the 100th NCAA title for the school last year.

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