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This gender reveal party started a 47,000-acre wildfire

This gender reveal party started a 47,000-acre wildfire

A gender reveal party resulted in a 47,000 acre forest fire in Arizona

A United States Border Patrol agent hosted a gender reveal party for his family and friends, and ended up igniting a wildfire that spread to Coronado National Forest in Arizona.

What happened?

The agent, 37-year-old Dennis Dickey of Tucson, Arizona, now must pay more than $8 million [£6 million, €7 million] in restitution. It starts with a $100,000 [£76,199; €86,696.50] initial payment and monthly payments thereafter, according to the Justice Department.

Dickey pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of US Forest Service regulations for igniting the fire. He agreed to five years probation and will make a public service announcement with the Forest Service about the cause of the blaze.

The gender reveal party took place on 23 April 2017. Families expecting a child tend to have these parties to inform loved ones of the baby’s gender.

Dickey, however, decided to stand out by shooting a rifle at a target containing Tannerite, a highly explosive substance. It would have exploded to reveal either blue powder for a boy or pink powder for a girl. Upon shooting the target, it exploded and resulted in the fire.

Dickey immediately reported the fire and claimed responsibility. It took firefighters from 20 different organizations a week to put out the blaze.

The gender of Dickey’s child was never revealed.

The bad trend of the gender reveal party

Many parents, especially feminists and LGBTI families, have argued that gender reveal parties need to become a thing of the past.

‘For decades, society has been placing gender stereotypes on children from day one — blue is for boys, pink is for girls, and yellow is neutral,’ writes Shannon Powell for PopSugar.

‘Many expecting parents have asked each other questions surrounding these things as they prep for the homecoming of their new bundles of joy, and gender reveal parties are just the latest iteration of this perpetual need to decide for your children how they identify. To me, it’s old fashioned and should stop.’

‘There are some common, cutesy themes often associated with gender reveal parties. “Bow or Bow Ties,” “Ties or Tutus,” or “Guns or Glitter,”’ explains Jamie Kenney for Romper.

‘For starters, one’s genitalia has nothing to do with their interests, so this is sort of silly. For another, what’s with that “or?” What if a girl wants to wear a tie and a tutu? What if a boy wants a bedazzled rifle? It just strikes me that this isn’t a party about what your child is going to be, but about how you intend to treat and act towards your child based on nothing more than a picture of their developing sex organs.’

Social media reactions

With the news of how a gender reveal party set 47,000 acres of a forest ablaze, many are asking: can this finally be enough to put the silly tradition to rest?

What do you think?