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Gender Reveal Gone Wrong: Fire Officials Announce Cause of Devastating CA Wildfire

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There are certain things you simply do not do when you live in dry, fire-prone areas. You do not burn your trash. You don’t burn leaf piles.

No open fires. No tossing cigarette butts on the ground. And absolutely no fireworks or explosives of any kind.

But apparently some people still choose to invest in risky behavior for fun causes, and at least one of the recent fires in California is a direct result of someone’s poor decision making — especially worrisome as it was soon-to-be parents who made it.

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While at least 23 known fires are currently burning in California, the one in Yucaipa, just 75 miles from Los Angeles, was started at a gender reveal party that employed smoke pyrotechnics.

“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 California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention shared in an update on social media.

“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.”

Since then, the fire has taken off, spreading in all directions, covering over 7,000 acres with just five percent containment. More than 3,000 people have been displaced because of the blaze.

“It burned in four different directions since we’ve been here,” Ben Holmes, a U.S. Forest Service senior firefighter, told KCAL-TV. “It was pushing to the east, then to the north, and then big westwardly wind shift, and (Sunday) it moved to the south.”

“The wind has been pretty dramatically inconsistent.”

To make matters worse, the arid summer landscape, high temperatures and current weather conditions are only helping the fire spread.

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“CAL FIRE reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire,” the post from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection continued.

“Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.”

Readers have commented on Cal Fire’s Instagram post with a variety of sentiments, from “Sooo, boy or girl?” to “God, this makes me so angry” — though most of them seem to agree that this was at the very least a terrible idea.

Whether the baby turns out to be a boy or a girl, hopefully the parents will make better decisions from here on out.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking