Post Yule Pyre burns bright on Ocean Beach
The Post Yule Pyre is an annual Ocean Beach tradition in which old Christmas trees are ignited in brief but intense fires. For many participants and onlookers the yearly pyre is just a crackling good time, but Saturday’s pyre brought a substantial response from San Francisco police and the National Park Service, which oversees Ocean Beach in the form of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
A few dozen pyre participants gathered Saturday evening at the Doggie Diner head on Sloat Boulevard and 45th Avenue, in anticipation of what was billed as the 22nd annual pyre. SFPD cars cruised by slowly, officers eyeing the people assembled there. And once the crowd started moving toward the beach, one officer used his car’s loudspeaker to warn that the beach is federal property and that anyone burning trees on the beach could be arrested or ticketed.
The Park Service response to the pyre included at least eight NPS vehicles and about a dozen employees, and about half a dozen San Francisco Police cars were on the scene as well.
No NPS personnel wanted to speak on the record, but some could be overheard grumbling about having to devote time and GGNRA resources to clean up after the fires.