El Dorado Fire

Firefighter Dies While Fighting Calif. Wildfire That Started at Gender Reveal Party

The El Dorado Fire started during a smoke device display at a gender reveal party during a scorching early September weekend of high fire danger in San Bernardino County and throughout California.

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A firefighter has died while fighting the El Dorado Fire, which began during a pyrotechnic smoke device display at a gender reveal party on an extremely warm weekend in San Bernardino County.

A cause of death was not immediately available. 

The firefighter died Thursday, according to the Forest Service. The firefighter's identity is being withheld pending notification of family members.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” the agency said in a statement.

Family members attempted to put out a fire sparked by a smoke machine during a gender reveal party. Tony Shin reported on NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.

The El Dorado Fire began nearly two weeks ago about 25 miles east of San Bernardino. It was caused by a smoke device used at a gender reveal party held during a weekend of high fire danger throughout California.

It was not immediately clear whether the individuals who threw the party will face charges.

"California owes so much to the firefighters that put their lives on the line to keep us safe," Gov. Gavin Newsom said. "This death is a stark reminder of that heroism. Our hearts are with this firefighter’s family, loved ones, and fellow firefighters during this tragic time."

After starting in triple-digit heat Sept. 5, the fire quickly spread toward Yucaipa and part of Riverside County. The fire was estimated at more than 19,000 acres Friday with containment nearing 70 percent.

At 25 people have died this year in California's wildfires. Thousands of fires, including enormous complexes of multiple wildfires in the Greater Bay Area, have burned more than 3.3 million acres this year statewide, far more than the state's five-year averages.

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