One of the many wildfires raging across California right now was apparently sparked at a gender reveal party held on Saturday in Yucaipa’s El Dorado Ranch Park, about an hour east of Los Angeles.
“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,” said the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in a press release posted on Instagram over the weekend. “Cal Fire reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire.”
In two short days, the El Dorado Fire has scorched at least 7,400 acres of San Bernardino County, where Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Sunday night. Only 7% of it had been contained as of Monday morning, CNN reports. Residents of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village, and Fort Falls have all been ordered to evacuate as more than 500 firefighting personnel descend on the area in an effort to extinguish the blaze.
This wildfire season has been the worst in California history in terms of acres burned, with over 2 million acres scorched at press time. Brutal wildfires are also raging in Montana, The New York Times reports, as well as Colorado.
This is not the first time that a gender reveal party has proved life-threatening.
In 2017, an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent sparked an Arizona wildfire that scorched 47,000 acres and caused $8 million in damage after shooting a target meant to explode in a blue cloud—his way of announcing to friends and family on social media that he was having a boy, barring any, uh, transitions down the line.
A woman in Iowa even died at a gender reveal in 2019 after getting hit with flying debris from what The New York Times describes as “a homemade pipe bomb.”
Incidentally, Jenna Karvunidis, the woman widely credited with popularizing gender reveals, totally regrets the trend she inadvertently helped create.
“I cringe when I see them now,” she said in an interview last year. “The insane levels people are taking them just to celebrate one of the most mundane facts about their child is just bizarre.”
“People are burning down forests and blowing up cars to shout what is essentially a very boring detail,” she continued. “Assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs.”