Another year, another massive wildfire started by some idiots using fireworks to talk about their child’s genitals
The El Dorado wildfire in Southern California’s San Bernardino County has now grown to almost 10,000 acres and was only 7 percent contained as of Monday night. The fire has forced evacuations across the area as the blaze, one of around 75 fires currently burning in California, threatens homes.
And now, officials say they know what likely sparked the blaze: A gender reveal party, where the parents-to-be used a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” to announce to a crowd what their forthcoming kid’s genitals will likely look like. During wildfire season. Really?
Fire officials said a video they obtained showed a family with several children walking into a field of dry grass while another person lit the device — again, during wildfire season in California. After the grass around the device caught fire, officials say the video showed the family scrambling to try to put out the fire with water bottles. They have not released the video, but have identified several laws that were broken, including “igniting the land” and arson. The family could face criminal charges, and could be ordered to pay restitution.
#ElDoradoFire Firefighters from multiple agencies during the firing operation in Oak Glen this afternoon. Unified Command: @calfirebdu @sanbernardinocountyfire @sanbernardinonf @yucaipapd @chp_san_bernardino
A post shared by CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit (@calfirebdu) on Sep 7, 2020 at 8:19pm PDT
Let’s talk about why this is absolutely absurd and asinine, aside from the fact that it sparked one of the worst wildfires in the U.S. so far this season. In 2020, the idea of a “gender reveal party” should make anyone cringe. We know that gender and biological sex are separate from one another, and what kind of reproductive organs your baby possesses at birth absolutely do not determine their gender. The only one who can determine that is your child, as they grow up and explore their own identity. Erego, a “gender reveal party” is not revealing a baby’s gender. It’s gathering friends and family around to talk about their genitals, often with elaborate staging (in this case, fireworks). How have we not all realized how creepy and weird that is?
The fact that this family did this during wildfire season in one of the U.S. states that, year after year, is hard hit by wildfires is mind-boggling. This isn’t even the first time a “gender reveal party” has sparked a large fire. In 2017, a similar party ignited a blaze in Arizona that grew to nearly 50,000 acres and caused more than $8 million in damage. The person responsible for that party pleaded guilty to a number of charges and was sentenced to five years of probation — and ordered to pay almost $8.2 million to cover the cost of the damage the fire caused.
Experts say that more than 80 percent of wildfires are caused by humans. We can and should do better. But when it comes to gender reveals, whether they involve fireworks or not, let’s just stop.