As gender reveal parties continue to rise in popularity, the announcement displays have become increasingly inventive — and significantly more dangerous. One such gender reveal party is now the cause of wildfire raging through thousands of acres in San Bernardino, California.
The gender reveal party began as most do, a gathering of family members and friends in excitement for the announcement. However, the party quickly turned deadly when the parents decided to set off what The New York Times called a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device.”
The device was intended to expel blue smoke for a boy or pink smoke for a girl. The color of the smoke became the least of the family’s concerns once the ground and trees around them burst into flames.
The wildfire it caused has killed a number of fauna and nearly the entire local ecosystem, with only 7 percent of the fire currently being contained by local forces.
Despite the fact that gender reveal parties are centered around surprises, we can assume this isn’t the surprise they were expecting. Though, the resulting wildfire isn’t at all surprising — considering 80 percent of wildfires are man-made.
The assigned gender of your child is not any more important than the child’s hair color, weight or eye color at the time of birth. The doctor takes one glance at the child’s physical appearance and notes what they see. Here’s a radical idea — these are all characteristics subject to change during development or self-discovery as the child grows up.
Their hair color might change, their weight will change, their eye color might change and their perceived gender might change. If the expense of announcing a characteristic prone to fluctuation is a massive wildfire, it’s not worth the trouble — nor is it worth such catastrophic consequences.
This isn’t the first time gender reveal parties have turned deadly. Last year, a family in Iowa decided to create a pipe bomb to announce their baby’s gender, which resulted in the death of a grandmother-to-be.
Aside from the deadly and environmental consequences of these gender reveal parties gone wrong, there are many legal implications to also be considered.
The family who started the wildfire in California are now facing three charges, including “igniting the land” and arson. Authorities have said the person charged will be the person who actually detonated the device. Depending on the level of recklessness authorities perceive in regard to this incident, the charges’ severity could vary.
Regardless of the outcome, do us all a favor — stop throwing reckless gender reveal parties. If it’s important to your family, opt for cutting open a cake instead of setting off a pipe bomb or pyrotechnic device.