Gender Reveal Fire

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Gender Reveal Fire

A plane flies over the Sawmill Fire on the morning of April 24th, 2017.

A plane flies over the Sawmill Fire on the morning of April 24th, 2017.

AZ Central

A plane flies over the Sawmill Fire on the morning of April 24th, 2017.

AZ Central

AZ Central

A plane flies over the Sawmill Fire on the morning of April 24th, 2017.

River Herron, Staff Reporter

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On April 23, 2017, Arizona resident Dennis Dickey made it clear to the entire world that he was having a baby boy. The Border Patrol agent shot a package of colored explosives that were meant to burst out in a cloud of blue smoke. These explosive targets have shown rapid growth in sales since a new trend of using them for gender reveal parties has risen and have caused numerous fires and even lead to one death. The problem with these targets is that they are extremely dangerous when not used correctly. Upon being shot by Dennis, the projectiles of the package quickly started to set the surroundings on fire and spread across the mountainside. As shrubs and dry plants ignited, the fire eventually covered over 47,000 acres of land. The “Sawmill Fire” cost the state more than $8,000,000 in damage and firefighting costs requiring the service of almost 800 firefighters to fully extinguish.

Tall dry grass and mesquite trees cover the area that this gender reveal disaster occurred and are the reason that target shooting is banned on this land. Things like the operation of a chainsaw, horses steel shoes clipping on a rock, and dragging chains off of the back of a vehicle on roads have started fires. Chloe Fish (10) says “It’s hard to believe that his job is to protect these national forests. which are in such critical condition, and yet he was somehow oblivious to the many laws restricting anything that might start a flame… of all people, knew better than most just how serious the laws he broke were”. After an anticipated court date in September of 2018, Dickey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation that is causing a fire a fire without a permit, which gives Dennis a chance of keeping his job as a Border Patrol Agent. He agreed to pay upfront $100,000 and $500 a month for the next 20 years which is a mere 3% of his overall destruction cost of $8,188,069. To add to the consequences, five years of probation were added along with Dennis agreeing to give a public service announcement with the U.S. Forest Service to talk about what caused this tragic event. Smart News shows us that 84% of wildfires are caused by us as humans and that for the past 21 years, fire season has lengthened in time.