Gender reveal party disaster sparks raging wildfire, leading to mass evacuations and destroying more than 7,000 acres
Firefighters in California are battling a blaze after a pyrotechnic at a gender reveal party intended to cause a harmless blue or pink cloud of smoke instead unleashed a deadly wildfire.
The fire broke out at the El Dorado Ranch Park in southern California on Saturday morning (September 5), expanding rapidly due to high temperatures and dry conditions.
Some 3,000 homes were evacuated in Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls as the fire burned through more than 7,000 of acres of land, with firefighters struggling to bring it under control.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection confirmed that the cause of the devastating blaze was a gender reveal party gone wrong.
It said in a statement: “Law enforcement has determined the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party. The fire began at 10.23 am on September 5, 2020 in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa.
“CAL FIRE reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire.
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“Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.”
The fire is only “five per cent contained”, according to the most recent update from Cal Fire, with 527 firefighters, 60 fire engines and four helicopters deployed to battle the blaze.
California governor declares state of emergency over wildfires.
California governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency due to the El Dorado fire, which continues to be “extremely active” as of Sunday evening (September 6), as well as several other simultaneous wildfires.
His office said: “The fires have burned tens of thousands of acres, destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of thousands of residents.
“Governor Newsom has declared a statewide emergency due to the widespread fires and extreme weather conditions, and secured a presidential major disaster declaration to bolster the state’s emergency response to the Northern California wildfires.”