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Gender Reveal Party Device Caused the Massive Blaze in California; A State of Emergency Declared by Cal. Governor

The fire at Yucaipa was one of 22 major fires burning in the state. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in five counties on Sunday, including in San Bernardino County due to the El Dorado blaze.

The state of emergency applies to Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties where the Creek Fire is burning and San Bernardino and San Diego counties where the El Dorado Fire and Valley Fire, respectively, are raging, a statement from the state's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) said Sunday night.

The El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa that has burned 7,050 acres in Southern California was caused by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal party Saturday morning, according to a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection press release. The devices are sometimes used to release blue or pink smoke to announce the gender of an expected baby.  

The fire has since destroyed 7,050 acres. It has prompted the evacuation of 3,000 residents, CBS reported.

Almost 12,500 firefighters are currently battling 22 major fires across the state, according to Cal Fire. Earlier on Sunday, Cal Fire said nearly 12,500 firefighters were battling 22 major fires in the state.

“CAL Fire reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire,” the news release said. “Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.”

More than 200 people were airlifted from the campsite by a Chinook and Blackhawk Helicopter, Cpl. David Hall of the California National Guard said during a news conference Sunday.

The rescue operation began late Saturday and was completed around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, he said. Rescue crews decided to load as many people on board as possible on the second run to the campsite as weather conditions deteriorated.

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