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California wildfire ‘sparked by gender reveal party’

The cataclysmic blaze was sparked by "a smoke-generating pyrotechnic", fire officials have said.

By Will Stroude

You’ve seen the videos: smiling parents using an increasingly OTT array of baby blue and baby pink cakes, fireworks or smoke bombs to signal the gender of their unborn child (and often reaffirming outdated gender stereotypes in the process).

Well, the craze that has long irked those who take a more flexible attitude towards gender roles has now been blamed for a social cataclysm of a different kind: a wildfire currently engulfing parts of California.

A fire which began on Saturday morning (5 September) at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, about 72 miles (115km) east of Los Angeles was likely caused by a firework set off during a gender reveal party, fire officials have said.

The California Fire Department issued a statement on Monday (7 September) declaring that the disaster was sparked  by “a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a baby’s gender reveal party”.

The statement urged members of the public to take caution in the dry conditions currently being experienced in California, and reiterated that members of the public not taking due care can be found criminally and financially responsible for any fires resulting from negligent behaviour.

While thankfully no deaths or injuries have been reported from the fire, which by Sunday night had spread across more than 7,050 acres, according to Sky News, more than 200 people had to be airlifed to safety after becoming trapped in an area popular with campers and hikers.

Perhaps it really is time to extinguish gender reveal parties for good…