At this point it’s an understatement to say that so-called “gender reveal” events, the kind that use smoke bombs in hues of blue and pink to reveal the sex of an impending child, have gotten out of control. Frequently enough, the explosive devices detonate in some unexpected way. A couple have even sparked massive massive wildfires.
Such is the case with a Saturday morning reveal, which reportedly reacted with the dry Southern California air to create an enormous wildfire which as of Monday had barely been contained. The smoke bomb was detonated in El Dorado Ranch Park, just 80 miles outside Los Angeles, an area with wild grasses that have grown as tall as four feet. As of Tuesday, the fire has already burned 10,000 acres, the Washington Post reports. Twenty-thousand people have been forced to evacuate their homes. No injuries or damage to buildings has been reported so far, according to the New York Times.
Sadly, something like this has happened a few times before. In 2017 a “gender reveal” party in Arizona set off a blaze that burned through 47,000 acres. The same kind of stunt started a brush fire in Florida last year. Jenna Myers Karvunidis, a blogger who is widely cited as the generator of these “gender reveal” spectacles, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday upon learning of the California fire, “Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down.”
The wildfire in California comes during a summer of record high temperatures in the state, which prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in five counties on Monday. The state’s power grid is strained, and several massive wildfires continue to devastate the area. Cal Fire reported that as of Monday morning eight people have died because of the fires, and more than two million acres of land across the state have burned — the most on record in a single year. The severity of these fires, as well as their expansion into areas they had not typically touched, is fueled by climate change. A recent study by Stanford University found that across the state temperatures have risen sharply over the past forty years while precipitation is dropping, creating more dry, warm days that are most susceptible to the ignition of wildfires.