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Massive California fire triggered by ‘gender reveal fireworks’

LOS ANGELES: Fireworks at a gender reveal party triggered a wildfire in southern California that has destroyed 2,800ha and forced many residents to flee their homes, the fire department said Sunday.

More than 500 firefighters and four helicopters were battling the El Dorado blaze east of San Bernardino, which started on Saturday morning, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said.

"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," Cal Fire said on Twitter.

"Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible."

California has suffered a particularly busy fire season this year, with more than 1.6 million acres destroyed so far, including in three of the biggest blazes in the state's history.

Gender reveal parties are held during pregnancy to unveil the sex of the expected child, sometimes announced by pink or blue smoke fireworks. - AFP

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