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A Firefighter Has Died Battling The Wildfire Sparked By A Gender-Reveal Stunt

The El Dorado fire has burned more than 19,000 acres and destroyed at least four homes since it was first ignited on Sept. 5 by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal.

Posted on September 18, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. ET

Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A firefighter near the El Dorado fire in Yucaipa, California, on Monday.

A firefighter in California died Thursday while battling a massive wildfire that was sparked earlier this month by a family's gender-reveal stunt, federal officials announced Friday.

US Forest Service officials said the death occurred in the San Bernardino National Forest, where firefighters have been trying to extinguish the El Dorado fire.

The cause and circumstances of the death are being investigated.

The identity of the firefighter has not yet been released, pending notification of family.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time," Forest Service spokesperson Zach Behrens said in a news release.

The wildfire began on Sept. 5 when a family visited the El Dorado Ranch Park and used a pyrotechnic device to reveal the sex of their unborn baby via colored smoke or fireworks.

But the small blast quickly sparked a fire that the family was unable to extinguish.

Officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said Thursday that the El Dorado fire has now burned more than 19,000 acres and destroyed at least four homes.

More than 1,300 firefighters have been trying to bring the blaze under control, and at least 12 of them have been injured.

Cal Fire officials said earlier this month the family had been cooperating with authorities, but no arrests had been made.

In 2017, a gender-reveal stunt by a Border Patrol agent in Arizona ignited a massive wildfire that burned 47,000 acres of grasslands over two weeks.

The agent pleaded guilty to accidentally starting the fire and, as part of a plea agreement, agreed to pay $220,000 in restitution.

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