Gender Reveal Party Starts Wildfire in California

One of the wildfires raging in California, now known as the El Dorado Fire, was caused by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device a couple used as part of a gender reveal party in a Southern California park, according to authorities. The El Dorado fire started Saturday morning at the El Dorado Ranch Park in San Bernardino County, according to BoingBoing.

“It really is a tragedy, it’s sad,” CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy, from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said, according to CNN. “They were hoping to remember the day in a different way. You need to be extra cautious because you could be liable.”

The fire spread from the park in Yucaipa, California, north to Yucaipa Ridge and has grown to 8,600 acres as of Monday. It is less than 10 percent contained.

The couple, who tried to put out the fire before calling for help, is now cooperating with fire investigators. However, investigators say at least three laws were violated, including “igniting the land” and arson. The penalties could vary, but if the district attorney pursues it, the person who ignited the pyrotechnic would be charged. Wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres this year, setting a record in California.

Gender reveal parties have become increasingly popular since 2008, and this isn’t the first time one has caused a wildfire. In 2017, a reveal in Arizona sparked a 47,000 acre fire.