Over the past several years, social media, cell phones and other technological advancements have contributed to the spread of a new phenomenon: gender reveal parties. Everyone gets excited when a new baby is on the way. Gender reveal parties are specifically dedicated to learning the baby’s sex in a surprising and creative way.
Some parents order balloons in a box or a specially baked cake with either pink or blue contents inside. Usually the parents themselves do not know the gender until the box is opened or the cake is cut. Dennis Dickey, a 37-year-old Border Patrol agent, decided to have his own gender reveal party with his family.
Dickey decided to do his reveal by shooting a target filled with either pink or blue powdery smoke. During the party, the reveal went off perfectly, but Dickey did not realize that he had inadvertently started a small fire by shooting the target full of flammable material. High winds that day allowed the small fire plume to travel thousands of acres, and it eventually set off a massive blaze. Over the course of the week in April of 2017, the fire engulfed an overwhelming 45,000 acres. Around 800 firefighters helped to contain the wildfire.
Immediately after the explosion, Dickey did realize he had started the fire. He quickly contacted police and admitted to his mistake. Despite his honesty, Dickey’s mistake was very costly. As a result, Dickey has pled guilty to starting the fire. He has been sentenced to five years of probation and will be required to pay back more than $8.1 million in restitution and fines. Dickey will also be appearing in a public service announcement alongside the U.S. Forest Service to highlight the importance of fire safety.