Firefighter dies battling wildfire sparked by gender reveal

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FILE – In this Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, file photo, a helicopter prepares to drop water at a wildfire in Yucaipa, Calif. A couple’s plan to reveal their baby’s gender at a party went up in smoke Saturday at El Rancho Dorado Park in Yucaipa, when a pyrotechnical device they used sparked a wildfire that has burned thousands of acres. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)

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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