Gender Reveal Party Blamed For Starting Huge Californian Wildfire
A ‘pyrotechnic device’ was found to be the cause of a wildfire in California that engulfed more than 7,000 acres in the state.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection found that the ‘smoke generating’ device was used at a gender reveal party.
The fire began at 10.23am on Saturday, September 5, at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, officials confirmed, before spreading rapidly as a result of the dry conditions.
It’s believed the device was a smoke generating machine, which prompted the initial blaze.
A statement from the fire department read:
With the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire. Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.
The ongoing blaze has now destroyed more than 7,050 acres and has forced around 3,000 residents in the area to evacuate their homes.
As many as 12,500 firefighters have been deployed to help battle 22 major fires that are now spread across the state, according to the fire department.
Wildfires at a reservoir in Sierra National Forest saw more than 200 people become trapped in the area, which is popular among campers, with dozens having to be airlifted to safety as multiple fires spread in every direction.
One camper posted a video on Twitter, before being airlifted to safety, writing:
We’re completely trapped. There’s fire on all sides, all around us.
On Sunday afternoon, temperatures reached around 49°C in Los Angeles County, a record for the National Weather Service office, which covers the area, The Guardian reports.
Taking to Twitter, Eric Boldt, an NWS meteorologist in California, said:
This is a very dangerous situation. Heat can really creep up on you quickly.
Please take caution and stay inside with air conditioning if you can! This heat can be deadly!
The state of California has seen 900 new wildfires since August 15, many of which began as a result of an intense series of lightning strikes. There have been eight deaths, almost 3,300 structures destroyed and more than 1.5 million acres torched.
This latest blaze isn’t the first time a gender reveal party has had devastating consequences. In 2019, a woman was killed when a homemade device designed to blow out coloured powder exploded.
And, in 2017, an off-duty US border patrol agent caused $8 million worth of damage across 47,000 acres of Arizona forest when he shot out a blue coloured explosive resigned to reveal the gender of their baby.
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