Gender Reveal Party Blamed for 7,000-Acre California Wildfire

September 7, 2020 Updated: September 7, 2020

A wildfire that has burned about 7,000 acres in California was sparked accidentally by a firework at a “gender reveal” party, officials say.

A “smoke generating pyrotechnic device” triggered the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, Cal Fire wrote in a statement.

The agency said that the fire, which is burning near the city of Oak Glen, started on Sept. 5 in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa.

“The fire spread from the park to the north, on to Yucaipa Ridge that separates Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls from the City of Yucaipa,” Cal Fire wrote.

Gender reveal parties are celebrations to announce whether expecting parents are going to have a girl or a boy.

While Cal Fire said in its statement that “those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible,” no charges have yet been announced related to the incident.

According to the agency’s incident website, the fire had grown to more than 7,050 acres as of early Sept. 7.

Evacuations have been issued for Mountain Home Village, Oak Glen, Forest Falls, and Yucaipa Ridge. An evacuation warning is in effect in the Yucaipa bench area. The Yucaipa Community Center is being used as an evacuation center, Cal Fire said.

It comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in five counties on Sept. 6.

Newsom said in a statement that tens of thousands of acres have already been burned by three wildfires: the Creek Fire, El Dorado Fire, and the Valley Fire. He said that California is working with federal officials for assistance.

“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,” his office said in the statement.

California wildfire helicopter
A helicopter prepares to drop water at a wildfire in Yucaipa, Calif., on Sept. 5, 2020. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo)

The counties impacted under the state of emergency are Fresno, Madera, and Mariposa due to the Creek Fire. San Bernardino County is impacted due to the El Dorado Fire, and San Diego County is impacted because of the Valley Fire.

“California has also secured Fire Management Assistance Grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the state’s response to fires burning in Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Napa, Nevada, Lake, Solano, Yolo, and Monterey counties,” his statement reads. Those fires are located in Central or Northern California.

Newsom also obtained a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump and assistance grants to support the battle against Northern California fires.