Gender Reveal Party Featuring Exploding Target Sparks Wildfire

A gender reveal party gone wrong ignited a wildfire in Canada, as an exploding target set the surrounding field alight, as reported by CP24.

On May 31, a gender reveal party was taking place in Alberta, just west of Fort McMurray. The baby's sex was set to be revealed using an exploding target filled with either blue or pink powder.

However, the exploding target ended up igniting a fire that grew to around half the size of a football field. Ten wildland firefighters helped local firefighters extinguish the blaze.

The party responsible has been issued a CA$600 fine and someone could also be charged with the cost of putting out the fire.

Travis Fairweather, a wildfire information officer, told CP24 that written permission is needed to use fireworks or an exploding target in Alberta, and said: "Fireworks and exploding targets—they can be fun, but they can also come with a hefty price tag if you end up inadvertently starting a wildfire."

Gender reveal parties involve a couple finding out the sex of their unborn baby in front of their family and friends. The sex is typically revealed using color, with pink indicating female and blue indicating male.

The baby's sex can be revealed by a range of creative methods, such as cutting a cake or popping a balloon. However, couples also choose to reveal the sex using more dangerous methods, such as fireworks or exploding targets.

The wildfire in Alberta is far from the first fire set alight in a gender reveal gone wrong.

In summer 2020, a gender reveal party using a "smoke-generating pyrotechnic device" was responsible for the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, California, which burned thousands of acres of land.

In 2017, a couple's gender reveal involved a makeshift explosive that was supposed to write, "It's a boy," or "It's a girl" once sparked. It ended up burning around 47,000 acres of land in Arizona.

Newsweek reported that as of April 1, gender reveal parties have already been responsible for four deaths this year. In March, two pilots, who revealed the sex of an unborn baby with a message that trailed behind their plane, died when the plane nosedived into the ocean.

In February, a father-to-be was killed when the device he was assembling to be used at a gender reveal party exploded.

Gender reveal parties became popular in 2008 after Jenna Karvunidis shared the details of her event on her blog, High Gloss and Sauce. Karvunidis and her husband cut a cake with pink frosting on the inside to reveal they were expecting a girl.

But Karvunidis has since spoken out against dangerous gender reveal parties. Following the El Dorado fire, Karvunidis wrote on Facebook: "Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid's penis. No one cares but you."

Wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Flames engulf trees along a highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 6, 2016. A gender reveal party was responsible for starting a wildfire near Fort McMurray on May 31, 2021. Cole Burston/AFP/Getty