Firefighter dies battling wildfire sparked by gender reveal

California

Thick smoke and permeates the area near Yucaipa, Cailf., as the El Dorado wildfire continues, more than 20,000 people have evacuated the 8,600-acre blaze on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. 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 east of Los Angeles. The fire started Saturday morning in dry grasses at El Dorado Ranch Park, a rugged natural area in the city of Yucaipa. (Cindy Yamanaka/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A firefighter died battling a wildfire in California that officials said was sparked by a device used to reveal a baby’s gender.

The death occurred Thursday in the San Bernardino National Forest as crews battled the El Dorado Fire, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release.

The El Dorado Fire erupted earlier this month from a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device was used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said.

The name of the firefighter was being withheld until family members are notified. The cause of the death was under investigation.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” spokesperson Zach Behrens said in the release.

The wildfire has burned more than 19,000 acres (7,700 hectares) and was about 66% contained, according to Cal Fire.

Wildfires have burned more than 3 million acres in California this year and are blamed for at least 25 deaths.

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