California: 8,600-acre El Dorado fire blamed on gender reveal stunt pyrotechnic device

"The wildfire that has burned more than 7,000 acres in Yucaipa and surrounding areas was caused by an explosive used during a gender reveal party, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection."KTLA

One of many fires burning in California on Monday is the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County. Cal Fire says this blaze was caused by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby's gender.

The El Dorado fire started Saturday at 10:23 a.m. PT at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa and spread from the park north on to Yucaipa Ridge, according to Cal Fire, and has since grown to 8,600 acres as of Monday and is just 7% contained, according to the San Bernardino National Forest.

Gender reveal events have become a popular social media ritual of sorts in which parents and someone capturing it on phone video or photos let off colored smoke, confetti, balloons or some such, to reveal the soon-to-be-born child's biological sex — pink for girls, blue for boys.

From the Associated Press:

The unidentified couple chose the location to reveal their baby's gender. They were accompanied by their young children and had a friend or relative videoing on a cell phone, said Capt. Bennet Milloy of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The family went into a field and fired off the device, which quickly ignited 4-foot (1.2 meter) grasses, Milloy said. Conditions were perfect for a fire to spread quickly — triple-digit temperatures, low humidity, dry vegetation and a stiff breeze.

The couple tried to put out the fire and failed, then called 911. It was too late. The unnamed individuals could be liable for the cost of fighting the fire and criminally charged with misdemeanor or felony counts.

Wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres in California this year, setting a state record — as more fires continue to burn.

More below from fire authorities, via Twitter.