California wildfire started by pyrotechnic device used at gender-reveal party

The El Dorado Fire in Southern California burned through 7,050 acres and was 5 percent contained.

One of 23 major wildfires burning in California was started by a pyrotechnic device used at a gender-reveal party, authorities said Sunday.

The El Dorado Fire in Southern California was caused by a “smoke generating pyrotechnic device,” said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention in a statement.

The fire started Saturday morning at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, about 72 miles east of Los Angeles. It scorched 7,050 acres by Sunday night and was 5 percent contained, Cal Fire said.

Firefighters battled the El Dorado Fire and other wildfires as the state sweltered under recording-breaking temperatures.

Cal Fire did not provide any further details about the gender-reveal party.

This isn’t the first instance in recent years where a gender-reveal party has resulted in a highly destructive wildfire. The 2017 Sawmill Fire in Arizona burned more than 45,000 acres, including parts of the Coronado National Forest, after a Border Patrol agent shot a rifle at a target as part of his family’s gender-reveal.

Dennis Dickey pleaded guilty in 2018 to starting the fire, which caused an estimated $ 8 million in damage. The target he shot at was filled with a colored substance, which would come out either pink or blue based on the baby’s sex, but also contained the highly explosive material Tannerite.

Video released by the U.S. Forest Service showed blue smoke coming from the target after it was shot and a grassy area nearby began to burn almost instantly. Dickey called authorities to alert them to the fire.

Dickey agreed to five years of probation and more than $ 8.1 million in restitution with an initial payment of $ 100,000.

The sadness of the weekend – California wildfire burns at least two dozen homes in small mountain town

The sadness of the weekend “Words cannot even begin to describe the devastation of this community,” a resident said.

A California wildfire that trapped dozens of campers over the weekend burned through at least two dozen homes in the small mountain town of Big Creek, a fire official said Monday.

Chris Donnelly, the longtime chief of the volunteer fire department in the nearby town of Huntington Lake, said in an interview that the Creek Fire roared through the community of about 200 Saturday night.

No injuries have been reported, he said, and there didn’t appear to be any damage to the town’s hydroelectric plant, one of the oldest and largest hydroelectric facilities in the country.

No injuries have been reported, he said, and there didn’t appear to be any damage to the town’s hydroelectric plant, one of the oldest and largest hydroelectric facilities in the country.

The plant is owned and operated by Southern California Edison, which also owns the homes where its workers live. The fire didn’t appear to have damaged them, Donnelly said.

A Southern California Edison spokesman, David Song, said the company hadn’t confirmed that.

Donnelly said at least two dozen privately owned homes on a road that juts into a canyon southwest of town were destroyed. Three propane tanks totaling 11,000 gallons exploded, he said, and an elementary school also caught fire, although it wasn’t clear whether it burned.

The school’s superintendent, Toby Wait, told The Fresno Bee that a church, a library and a historic general store appear to have survived the fire, although Wait’s home burned after his family was evacuated early Saturday.

“Words cannot even begin to describe the devastation of this community,” he told the newspaper.

“They went, ‘OK, we’ll do it for our town,'” he said, adding: “It’s a heroic story.”

The fire, which began Friday, exploded to a massive 78,790 acres by Monday afternoon in the Sierra Nevada mountains, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was zero percent contained.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, said the fire was so intense that it had created its own thunderstorms with lightning and wind but no rain.

Over the weekend, more than 200 people staying at a campground in Sierra National Forest were evacuated by helicopter after the fire quickly surrounded them, making the only road out of the forest impassable.

A photo from the California National Guard showed dozens of evacuees crammed into a Chinook helicopter.

The blaze was one of dozens that firefighters were trying to extinguish as a record heat wave baked huge parts of the state over Labor Day weekend. Red flag warnings — the National Weather Service’s most serious fire alert — were in effect for much of California through Wednesday as powerful winds were expected to sweep across the state.

A record 2 million acres have burned in California so far this year. Scientists have partly attributed the state’s increasingly intense wildfire seasons to climate change, which has made the season longer and hotter and its vegetation more combustible. They’ve also pointed to a chronic lack of managed and prescribed burns that have allowed those wildland fuels to mount.

In eastern Washington State, a wildfire tore through the small town of Malden on Monday, burning much of it. Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers told local TV station KREM that the community’s city hall, library and fire department were all destroyed in the fast-moving fire. So were many homes.

“There’s a few homes that are still standing, but when you look at Malden right now it’s pretty close to complete devastation,” he told the station.