For the second straight year, Del Rio High School’s homecoming bonfire is in limbo.
According to San Felipe Del Rio CISD administrators, the bonfire, which was scheduled for Wednesday evening, was canceled. The city did not issue a permit for the bonfire “due to the lack of rain.”
The bonfire stack has traditionally been lit the Wednesday prior to the homecoming game. It’s part of a full slate of activities which also include the traditional parade up North Main Street and pep rally inside Walter Levermann Ram Stadium.
The homecoming game itself will be played Friday beginning at 7 p.m., against the Laredo LBJ Wolves.
Last year, the bonfire was rescheduled until Nov. 2, two weeks following the actual homecoming game, due to rains that doused the community homecoming week.
This year, dry and windy conditions are to be blamed for a delay in the traditional lighting of the bonfire, which has stood for Del Rio High’s “burning desire” to beat its opponent.
“Unfortunately, the dry conditions across much of Texas present dangers for creating wildfires beyond containment. Therefore, we have postponed our bonfire until such a time when conditions are not dangerous. The high school administration will work with our seniors and the city of Del Rio to identify a more appropriate time,” San Felipe Del Rio CISD Superintendent Dr. Carlos Rios said in an emailed statement to the Del Rio News-Herald.
The bonfire site is located in a fenced off area more than 100 yards from the stadium. Material, such as wooden pallets and other pieces of untreated lumber, are collected there to be burned in a controlled manner by school district officials and select members of the high school’s student body.
From the time the bonfire is lit to the last few embers, law enforcement officials and members of the Del Rio Fire Department are on hand to ensure that no one gets too close to the flames or interferes with the burning itself.
These past two years weren’t the first the annual bonfire was in danger of not taking place. In 2003, the original stack was lit several days prior to the actual day it was supposed to be set ablaze. The senior class that year scrambled to rebuild the stack in a matter of days, and a smaller bonfire was lit that week.