A California wildfire which has so far destroyed 7,050 acres of land 40 miles northeast of Palm Springs was started during a gender reveal party, it has emerged.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Sunday night that a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device caused the fire.
The devices are sometimes used to release blue or pink smoke to announce the gender of an expected baby.
The fire started on Saturday at 10:23am, they said, and 527 people from 10 fire crews are currently trying to halt the fire’s progress.
It spread from the El Dorado Ranch Park north, onto the Yucaipa Ridge. The ridge separates Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls from the City of Yucaipa.
The El Dorado wildfire, which broke out on Saturday morning, was started by a gender reveal party, it has been confirmed
Evacuation orders are in place for the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls
No injuries have been reported. An outbuilding was destroyed on Saturday, Desert Sun reported, but no other damage was reported as of Sunday afternoon.
The paper said about 30 homes were threatened by the fire.
Evacuation orders are in place for the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls.
An Evacuation Warning is now in effect for the Yucaipa bench area, the fire service said.
Residents are being told that they may evacuate to Yucaipa Community Center as a temporary evacuation facility.
Fire fighters are using 60 fire engines and four helicopters to douse the blaze with water.
‘CAL FIRE reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire,’ the press release stated.
‘Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially responsible and criminally responsible.’
Satellite images on Saturday gave a sense of the scale of the El Dorado fire, which was started by a gender reveal party
The El Dorado Fire blazed up into the San Bernardino National Forest, near Oak Glen, wiping out more than 7,000 acres
Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, on Sunday declared a state of emergency in five counties, including San Bernardino County due to the El Dorado Fire which continues to be ‘extremely active’ due to dry vegetation, steep terrain and sweltering hot weather across the region.
Officials are asking that residents heed evacuation warnings and travelers stay clear of the fire area.
‘We need to keep the firefighters we do have focused on firefighting and not on managing people,’ fire officials said in a joint press release issued on Sunday.
The El Dorado Fire is currently burning two miles from where the Apple Fire destroyed 33,000 acres last month.
Fire officials said that it could be helpful, because the El Dorado Fire could enter the ‘burn scar’ and peter out.
The Apple Fire, which had been 95 per cent contained for weeks, was ignited on July 31 by a diesel-fueled vehicle ’emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system,’ investigators said.
Area temperatures are expected to surpass 110 degrees near Yucaipa as Southern California is engulfed in a heatwave.
On Saturday, temperatures peaked at 122 degrees in Palm Springs and similar conditions were expected on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.