Gender Reveal Party Starts California Fire as Pyrotechnic Device Sparks El Dorado Blaze

Evacuation orders have been issued following the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County of southern California. The fire—caused by pyrotechnic equipment used during a gender reveal party—has burned 7,050 acres, with five percent contained, according to the latest report Sunday by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

"Cal Fire Law Enforcement has determined the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party," the department confirmed in a statement Sunday.

"The fire began at 10:23 am on September 5, 2020 in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa. The fire spread from the park to the north onto Yucaipa Ridge that separates Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls from the City of Yucaipa," Cal Fire added.

The latest report Sunday by the Incident Information System of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) confirmed: "The fire is burning up the south side of Yucaipa Ridge above the communities of Oak Glen and the North Bench area of Yucaipa. It has crested Yucaipa Ridge and continues to burn on the north slope towards the communities of Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls.

"The weather will remain dry and hot throughout the night with an elevated temperature and relative humidity at 20 percent. The winds will remain downslope at 3 to 5 mph [miles per hour] with gusts to 10 mph. This will result in continued active fire behavior throughout the night," the report added.

Timelapse of the #ElDoradoFire from late this morning near Mountain Home Village. @SanBernardinoNF @CALFIREBDU

— San Bernardino County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) September 6, 2020

Evacuation orders have been issued for the Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls communities, while an evacuation warning is in effect for the Yucaipa bench area. "Residents may evacuate to Yucaipa Community Center as a temporary evacuation facility," Cal Fire noted.

Road closures are in place for parts of Highway 38 and Oak Glen Road. Northbound Highway 38 is closed at Bryant Avenue, while southbound Highway 38 is closed at the town of Angelus Oaks. Oak Glen Road is closed at Pine Bench Road on the east and Cherry Croft Drive/Jefferson Street on the west, the NWCG report noted.

Roads closed in the San Bernardino National Forest area include Thomas Hunting Grounds Road (1N12), Morton Springs Road (1S13) and Warm Springs Road (1S12).

Various recreational areas of the San Bernardino National Forest have also been closed, including the entirety of the San Gorgonio Wilderness, in addition to all inbound trails, parking lots, roads and trailheads associated with the wilderness.

#EldoradoFire evacuation order map. Red Cross reception center at Yucaipa community center.

— Yucaipa Police (@YucaipaPD) September 7, 2020

Other closed trails include Big Falls, Oak Glen Divide, Wilson Creek and Santa Ana River Trail between the southern forest boundary and Middle Control Road.

The Falls and Thurman Flats picnic areas and the camping grounds of the Thomas Hunting Grounds Yellow Post Sites have also been closed.

"All visitors should be prepared for the possibility of future closures at a moment's notice," the NWCG report noted.

The El Dorado Fire joins several other blazes burning across the state. More than 14,800 firefighters are battling 23 major fires in California, including several caused by lightning, according to the latest report Sunday by Cal Fire.

Since August 15, there have been almost 14,000 lightning strikes and over 900 new wildfires, which have burned over 1.6 million acres, with eight deaths and nearly 3,300 structures destroyed, Cal Fire confirmed.

Apple Fire San Bernardino California August 2020
Flames approaching a western front of the Apple Fire burning in the San Bernardino National Forest on August 1 in Cherry Valley, California. Several parts of the forest were closed following the El Dorado Fire, which sparked Saturday near Oak Glen Road. David McNew/Getty Images