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7,300-acre fire in California caused by pyrotechnic used in gender-reveal photo

The El Dorado Fire has burned more than 7,300 acres and forced more than 21,000 people to evacuate.
/ Source: TODAY

A California wildfire that has destroyed more than 7,386 acres and forced more than 21,000 people to evacuate was caused by a "smoke generating pyrotechnic device" used during a gender reveal, according to local officials.

The El Dorado Fire, located near Yucaipa, 72 miles east of Los Angeles, began burning on Saturday. The fire started after a single family gathered in El Dorado Ranch Park to take a photo of the gender reveal. The family stayed on the scene until fire personnel and law enforcement arrived and cooperated fully, authorities told NBC News.

As of Monday morning, the fire was 7% contained.

"With the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn't take much to start a wildfire. Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District shared a time-lapse video of the El Dorado Fire on Sunday, showing heavy plumes of smoke billowing into the air.

Another angle, near Mountain Home Village, a community in San Bernardino County, shows bright red spots in the sky as brown and white smoke consumes the sky from the ground.

A third video, shared by the city of Brea's Emergency Preparedness Program in Orange County, gives another look at the extensive flames.

The blaze is one of 23 major wildfires burning across California, according to NBC News. A record heat wave has made battling the fires especially brutal. On Saturday, Los Angeles reached 121 degrees, the highest official temperature ever recorded for the county, according to the National Weather Service.

Gender-reveal pyrotechnic devices, which explode pink or blue smoke depending on the sex of the baby, are tremendously popular — and this isn't the first time they've caused problems.

A video from April 2017 shows how a gunshot started a massive brush fire in Arizona, which burned 45,000 acres. A target was set up with the words "boy" and "girl" written on it. As soon as the shot went off, the target exploded into flames.

CLARIFICATION (Sept. 7, 2020, 2:40 p.m.): Authorities clarified that the fire was the result of a single family taking a photo of a gender reveal. Authorities had previously said it was the result of a "gender reveal party." This article has been reflected to update this clarification and the most recent numbers on evacuations and damaged acres.