Another gender reveal party, another mass tragedy. A family added to the already catastrophic wildfires burning California by starting one of their own. Officials said that a “pyrotechnic device” intended for use at the reveal party caused the 10,000+ acres blaze.
The fire resulted in hundreds of people being forced to evacuate their homes and firefighters to toil for hours to try and extinguish the flames.
A gender reveal photoshoot went very, very wrong, and sparked a massive wildfire in California.
It was all sparked when a family headed out to El Dorado Ranch Park for a gender-reveal photo Saturday morning, Capt. Bennet Milloy from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, told BuzzFeed News.
The reveal was to be done with a “pyrotechnic device,” but it instead ignited a fire that quickly spread north from the park into Yucaipa Ridge. It’s unclear what type of device was used but Milloy explained that it was meant to either emit a colored smoke or a firework to symbolize the unborn child’s sex.
At least one member of the family stayed behind in an unsuccessful attempt to put out the fire, Milloy told Buzzfeed News.
Members of the family who were there have been cooperating with fire investigators, he said, and officials have also been able to obtain surveillance video from the park when the fire was started. But, no arrests have been made.
The El Dorado fire has burned approximately 10,574 acres as of Tuesday and is 16% contained, officials said. Authorities have confirmed at least one structure has been destroyed, but early Tuesday morning the fire was pushing outward in several directions, including south toward the city of Yucaipa and prompting several evacuations there.
Fire officials have been unable to get a damage assessment of the area yet, according to Milloy.
This is not the first time that a large brush fire has been caused during an extravagant gender reveal.
In March, a family sparked a 10,000-acre fire in Brevard County, Florida. The fire was started after Tannerite was exploded as part of a failed gender reveal party. But, before the 10,000 acres in Florida, there was a 43,000-acre fire in Arizona.
On April 23, 2017, a Border Patrol agent ignited a massive wildfire during a gender reveal party that burned through 47,000 acres of Arizona grasslands, costing more than $8 million and two weeks to extinguish.
The agent pleaded guilty to accidentally starting the fire and, as part of a plea agreement, agreed to pay $220,000 in restitution.
It’s still unknown what charges, if any, will be levied for the El Dorado Fire. However, investigators will continue to evaluate the damage of the fire and, after it is contained, a report will be presented to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office to consider whether or not to file charges.
The person who ignited the pyrotechnic device, he explained, would be the person liable for possible charges.
Firefighters continue to experience extreme weather conditions while they try to contain the fire, one of 24 active blazes across the state during an extreme heatwave that gave LA County its warmest day on record with a temperature of 121 degrees.
In Yucaipa, temperatures over the weekend soared over 110 degrees while more than 600 firefighters tried to contain the fire.
Temperatures were lower on Monday as firefighters battle the blaze, aided by four helicopters, 60 fire engines, and 10 bulldozers.
It might be time to retire the gender reveal trend or, at least, do it safely. You’d think people would know better than to play with fire at this perilous time for the Pacific region, but here we are.