Gender reveal party sparked El Dorado California wildfire


A firefighter works the line as flames push towards homes during the Creek fire in the Cascadel Woods area of unincorporated Madera County, California on September 7, 2020.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

A smoke generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party was the source of a wildfire in El Dorado, California, that has spread to 7,050 acres as of Sunday, according to California fire officials.

In a statement released Sunday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the the fire began at 10:23 a.m. Saturday in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, spreading to the north. As of Sunday, the fire was 5% contained, according to the Cal Fire website. The communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls are under evacuation orders and an evacuation warning is in effect for the Yucaipa bench area. The Yucaipa Community Center is serving as a temporary evacuation facility, according to Cal Fire.

More than 500 personnel and 60 engines have been deployed to the site, according to the website.

The El Dorado fire adds to a series of dangerous wildfires that have cropped up in California as residents are already trying to fend off danger from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in San Bernadino County due to the El Dorado fire as well as four other counties due to other fires.

The Creek Fire, which prompted the state of emergency in Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties, has burned more than 73,000 acres and was 0% contained as of Sunday, according to Cal Fire. The Valley Fire, which led to the state of emergency declaration for San Diego County, has burned more than 10,000 acres and was 1% contained as of Monday morning.

Compounding the danger, California residents narrowly escaped the threat of rolling blackouts after the state’s Independent System Operator declared a Stage 2 state of emergency on Sunday. The ISO warned residents to conserve power and late Sunday, said the state of emergency was lifted and no outages had been ordered.

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