Calif. fire sparked by device to reveal baby’s gender
LOS ANGELES — A couple’s plan to reveal their baby’s gender went up not in blue or pink smoke but in flames when the device they used sparked a wildfire that burned thousands of acres and forced people to flee from a city east of Los Angeles.
The fire prompted evacuations in parts of Yucaipa, a city of 54,000. More than 500 firefighters on the scene Monday only had minimal containment. No homes have burned and no injuries have been reported.
It’s the latest in what has become a list of tragedies at events where typically smoke, confetti, balloons or other colored objects are used to reveal the soon-to-be-born child’s biological sex — pink for girls and blue for boys.
The fire started Saturday morning at El Ranch Dorado Park, a rugged natural area popular with hikers and dog owners.
Wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres in California this year, a state record.
The unidentified couple chose the location to reveal their baby’s gender, 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 grasses, Milloy said.
Surveillance video showed the couple frantically race to their vehicle to retrieve water bottles to try to extinguish the flames. It was futile and they called 911.
“You can’t fight a fire like this with a water bottle,” Milloy said. “They had no chance after it started.”
The couple could be liable for the cost of fighting the fire and criminally charged with misdemeanor or felony counts.
A wildfire in Yucaipa, Calif., Saturday.