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Gender Reveal Party Causes $8 Million In Wildfire Damage


Gender reveal parties have become all the rage recently, with everyone wanting to outdo their friends. If you're not aware, gender reveal parties involve expecting parents creatively announcing the gender of their unborn baby. For Dennis Dickey and his wife, they wanted to do something special for their gender reveal, but it ended up costing millions of dollars, and started a wild fire.

Dickey, a 37-year-old border patrol agent, decided that he and his wife were going to fill a target with either blue or pink powder, depending on the gender of the baby. When Dickey shot the target, it would burst with the powder and be a memorable reveal.

The father-to-be added Tannerite to his rifle, which is a legal substance, but when he shot the gun, the sparks ended up flying into dry brush. This sent the Coronado National Forest into flame and started the Sawmill fire.

Dickey tried to put out the fire, but it was moving way too quickly. He alerted Forest Service Special Agent Brent Robinson hoping to get the fire under control. Unfortunately, the 40mph winds had other plans.

The flames spread across thousands of acres of state-owned land, causing irreparable damage. The fire burned for nearly two weeks, and dozens of people were displaced from their homes. According to the US attorney's office, the damages amassed to more than $8 million.

"Dickey fired shots at the Tannerite target," federal authorities said, "ultimately causing an explosion that started a fire that spread and resulted in damage to more than 45,000 acres of land managed by the State of Arizona, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and various private landholders."

Dickey plead guilty to starting the fire in court, and emotionally regretted his actions.

"It was a complete accident," he said in court, according to the Arizona Daily Star. "I feel absolutely horrible about it. It was probably one of the worst days of my life."

The border patrol agent agreed to pay restitution, with $100,000 up front and another $120,000 in monthly installments of $500 each over the next two decades. It's unclear if Dickey will have to pay back the full $8 million.

In addition to the payments, Dickey is on five years probation and will appear in a public service announcement for the Forest Service.

[H/T: Buzzfeed News, NPR]

The gender of Dickey's baby has not yet been revealed.

Donna loves spending time in front of the TV catching up on dramas, but in the summer you'll find her in the garden.