A firefighter has been killed in a wildfire ignited during a gender reveal party. The El Dorado fire, CA was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device ignited during the party, CalFire reported. The El Dorado Fire in San Bernadino county has currently burned 22,576-acres, is 59% contained, and is being fought by 1,190 personnel.
The firefighter was killed Thursday, the forest service announced in a statement. The cause of death is under investigation, it said, and the firefighter’s identity was withheld pending the notification of next of kin.
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 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.
– CalFire Press Release
#ElDoradoFire – Day 3: Crews are continuing to work along the east side of Oak Glen Rd. with water drops and strike teams providing structure defense. @SanBernardinoNF @CALFIREBDU pic.twitter.com/xNUFe2Rd9O
— SB County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) September 7, 2020
According to CNN, unreleased video from the party shows a couple with several children walking into the grass at the edge of the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa. Another person is seen appearing to light the device. Within a short space of time, the family can then be seen panicking and grabbing water bottles as the fire spreads.
“It really is a tragedy, it’s sad. They were hoping to remember the day in a different way.”
– CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy
At least 95% of California’s wildfires are human-caused and in this case, the person responsible for lighting the pyrotechnic could be liable, and likely charged.
San Bernadino National Forest is currently closed to the public, along with all the other National Forests in California.
The video below is of the fallen firefighter being transported.