The 7,000-acre El Dorado Fire was started by a gender reveal party’s pyrotechnic device, officials in California shared on Sunday night. The fire started on September 5 and quickly spread, leading to numerous evacuations. This is one of many fires currently burning in California.
Here’s what you need to know:
Smoke From a Pyrotechnic Device Started the Fire on September 5
In an Instagram post, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) shared that a pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party was the source of the blaze. Cal Fire’s San Bernardino Unit reported:
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. The fire began at 10:23 am on September 5, 2020 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.
The fire started off Oak Glen Road and Potato Canyon Road, west of Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, and grew quickly because of the heat and dry weather.
According to Cal Fire, the fire is now 7,050 acres in size and only 5% contained.
A number of evacuations are in place due to the fire, Cal Fire noted, including evacuation orders for Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls. Inciweb also notes that evacuation orders include: “North Bench Yucaipa (All Resident north of Yucaipa Blvd, East of Bryant, and south of Hwy 38, and all residents North of Carter, west of Bryant, and South of Highway 38), Oak Glen, Highway 38 Area of Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls.”
Evacuation warnings are in effect for the Yucaipa bench area, where residents should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. You can see a map of the evacuation orders below, provided by Inciweb.
A temporary evacuation facility was set up at the Yucaipa Community Center at 34900 Oak Glen Road.
For updates about the fire’s growth, see the following:
- Cal Fire BDU and San Bernardino National Forest’s Twitter.
- Sign up for emergency notifications in San Bernardino County here.
- Inciweb is updating details here.
- The fire information line is 909-383-5688.
In 2017, a 45,000-Acre Fire Was Started During a Gender Reveal Party
This isn’t the first time that a gender-reveal-gone-wrong started a huge blaze. In September 2018, Dennis Dickey — a border patrol agent in Tucson, Arizona — pleaded guilty to starting the Sawmill Fire in 2017 and was directed to pay $220,000 in restitution, Tucson.com reported. The fire grew to 45,000 acres and caused $8 million in property damage.
He and his wife were throwing a gender reveal party and the fire started when Dickey, 37, fired a rifle at a target that was going to emit blue or pink powder. He filled the target with Tannerite, an explosive substance, and caused an explosion that set off the massive fire after he fired at the target. He quickly called law enforcement when the fire started and admitted that he caused it, Tucson.com reported.
Dickey was put on probation for five years as part of his plea agreement and was told he would have to make a public service announcement about forest fires. He agreed to pay back the state for damages caused by the fire.
Dickey said the day the fire started was one of the worst days of his life, HuffPost reported.