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California wildfire prompts inventor of gender reveal parties to speak up

Tuesday, September 8th 2020, 3:36 pm - "Stop having these stupid parties," the creater of the gender reveal party said in a recent Facebook post.

Jenna Karvunidis -- the woman credited for creating the gender reveal party -- has taken to Facebook with a simple message.

STOP.

"Stop having these stupid parties," Karvunidis said in a strongly worded post, written after a gender reveal party sparked a 2-hectare, out-of-control wildfire in California's San Bernardino County over the weekend.

"Of course I'm getting hate messages," Karvunidis continued.

"Excuse me for having a cake for my family in 2008. Just because I'm the 'gender reveal inventor' doesn't mean I think people should burn down their communities."

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known more commonly as CalFire, said the fire sparked Saturday due to a "smoke generating pyrotechnic device" used during a gender reveal party amid extremely hot and dry conditions.

Some 54,000 people have evacuated their homes as a result.

ELABORATE PARTIES

Gender reveal parties appeared to originate in 2008, when Karvunidis cut through a cake that had pink frosting inside, indicating she was pregnant with a girl.

The parties have been regularly criticized for maintaining gender norms. Nonetheless, gender reveal parties have grown more and more elaborate over the years, sometimes causing great harm to the environment.

MILLIONS IN DAMAGES

In 2017, a gender reveal party caused a wildfire that destroyed 19,000 hectares of land and caused more than $8 million in damages.

Video footage shows a makeshift target with the words "Boy" and "Girl" written on it, placed in the desert near Green Valley, Arizona.

A gunshot is fired, creating a cloud that ignites the surrounding plants.

The 'Sawmill fire' took a week to extinguish and required assistance from firefighters in 20 different agencies.

According to CNN, the fire was started by off-duty US Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey, 37, who was charged with a violation of US Forest Service regulations and sentenced to five years' probation. He also was ordered to pay $8,188,069 in restitution.

Dickey called the fire "a complete accident." His target was comprised of Tannerite, a highly explosive substance that was supposed to create a blue or pink cloud of smoke to reveal the gender of Dickey and his wife's baby.

For the record, the smoke cloud was blue -- it was a boy.

SEE VIDEO FROM THE 2017 FIRE HERE

LARGE FIRE IN FLORIDA

A similar incident involving Tannerite and a "weapon" happened in Brevard County, Florida in April, sparking a fire that burned through 4 hectares of land. The county had been under a fire ban at the time.

It's unclear if the host of the party was charged.

CROP DUSTER DISASTER

Explosions aren't the only gender reveal stunt to cause environmental harm. In September 2019, a crop duster plane dumped more than 1,000 litres of pink water over a field in Turkey, Texas and subsequently crashed, after stalling in the air. The pilot was unscathed, but a passenger on the plane sustained minor injuries.

Thumbnail image courtesy: Unsplash/Matt Howard.

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