A California wildfire which has so far destroyed 7,050 acres of land 40 miles northeast of Palm Springs was started by gender reveal party, it has emerged – leaving the family that hosted the party at risk of prison time and multi-million dollar fines.
Amid a record-breaking heatwave, 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.
Bennet Milloy, spokesman for the department, told DailyMail.com that the people hosting the party were still on the scene when the firefighters arrived.
‘We know how it started because they were still there,’ he said. ‘That, and the fact that there were surveillance cameras in the park.’
Milloy said that it was a relatively small family gathering, and that the relatives had gathered for a photo opportunity.