Cal Fire has confirmed that a "smoke generating pyrotechnic device" at a gender reveal party is what set off the El Dorado fires in California.
Officials in California have revealed that one of the many wildfires currently burning in the state was caused by a family hosting a gender reveal party. During the get-together, attendees launched a "smoke generating pyrotechnic device" that set off the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, CNN reports. It began on Saturday at 10:23 a.m. at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa and spread from the park north on to Yucaipa Ridge as per a press release published by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As of early Monday morning, the fire has grown to a whopping 7,050 acres.
The press release read, "Cal Fire 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." No charges have been announced of yet, but the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village, and Forest Falls have been ordered to evacuate so as to stay safe from the growing wildfire. At the Yucaipa bench area, where an evacuation order is presently in place, the Yucaipa Community Center is being utilized as a temporary evacuation facility. More than 500 personnel have been deployed to fight the wildfire in addition to 60 engines and four helicopters.
In its evening update on the El Dorado Fire, the San Bernardino National Forest stated the weather is expected to remain dry and hot throughout the night with an elevated temperature and relative humidity at 20 percent. Furthermore, the officials announced that winds will remain downslope at three to five miles per hour with gusts of up to 10 miles per hour. They explained, "This will result in continued active fire behavior throughout the night." As of the time of publishing, only seven percent of the wildfire has been contained. The San Bernardino National Forest provides updates on their official incident information system, which you can view here.
As firefighters do their best to continue to contain the wildfire, individuals have been weighing in online about the family's idea to hold a gender reveal party. Not only are we in the middle of a pandemic, but residents of California are well aware that it is wildfire season. Many believe, therefore, that the family acted ignorantly and should be held responsible for their poor decisions. One Twitter user wrote, Stay safe! Sorry that some selfish st*pid people caused this. Another added, I hope the couple who started this will be held liable... What the hell were they thinking? Others also criticized gender reveal parties as a whole for their archaic fixation on the gender binary. While California continues to burn, officials hope this becomes a lesson in acting responsibly to keep your community and the environment safe.
We are SO thankful for our fire personnel near and far who are tirelessly working in extreme heat and dangerous fire conditions. Let’s give them, our partner agencies and support teams a big shout out! #RivCoNow #CALFIREservingCA #thankyou— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) September 6, 2020