The El Dorado Fire in California has been an incredibly devastating event. More than 7,000 acres have been burned due to the wildfire. California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for San Bernadino County in reaction to the blaze. Evacuations have been ordered and over 500 firefighting personnel are battling the flames. This also includes at least 60 fire engines, six helicopters, and three fixed-wing aircraft that are aiding in stopping the inferno.
Now, the source of the fire has been revealed. According to ABC7, “A smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal party sparked the El Dorado Fire.” The Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit investigated the wildfire and found the cause to be connected to a gender reveal party that took place in El Dorado Ranch Park.
In a press release, the Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit didn’t mince words. “Cal Fire reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire,” the press release states. “Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.” As of yet, there have not been any named culprits attached to the gender reveal party that started the fire.
Gender reveal parties have found themselves in the news multiple times for unfortunate reasons. Another wildfire was started by a gender reveal party in Arizona back in 2018. A 56-year-old soon-to-be grandmother was killed at a gender reveal party when the contraption that was meant for the reveal exploded and a piece of shrapnel hit her in the head, killing her almost instantly. Another gender reveal even involved a plane crash, though no one suffered any fatal injuries from that mishap.
However, even with all of these tragic events, gender reveal parties look like they aren’t going anywhere. Dr. Carly Giesler is a professor at York College in Queens and she has studied gender, media, and cultural studies during her tenure. Dr. Giesler says, “I don’t see it going away.” According to Dr. Giesler, gender reveal parties have become a normal part of American society and at this point are “another expectation of parenthood or pregnancy.” These horrific accidents don’t seem to be deterring Americans from having gender reveal parties. Especially in the age of social media, as Giesler also mentions: “You’re doing everything in your life for a camera,” Giesler said. “It can very much take away from the original spirit of the celebration.”
California has had a very bad year when it comes to wildfires in general. 900 wildfires have been reported since August 15. Over 1.5 million acres of land have been burned over this period. Nearly 3,300 structures have been destroyed and there have been eight deaths connected directly to these fires.
No injuries or structural damage has been reported from the El Dorado Fire as of now. By Monday morning, the El Dorado Fire had grown to 7,386 acres, and containment of the blaze is being listed at 7%.