Gender reveal parties have become a hot-button issue in recent years. Many people feel that such a big fuss shouldn’t be made over a baby’s gender, which doesn’t have to do with anatomy but rather a child’s own identity. But we’ve also heard about tragic events coming out of extravagant “reveal” parties, too — this wildfire being the latest.
The El Dorado Fire is huge, and the fact that it started from a gender reveal party is almost hard to believe. It began on Saturday morning and has been out of control since. Officials say 527 people from 10 fire crews are currently battling the flames.
To make matters far worse, a record-shattering heat wave has been fanning those flames. The temperatures in the area have been around 121 degrees, creating a recipe for disaster. The fire has shown no signs of slowing down, and now authorities are saying that the family responsible could possibly have to foot the bill — or even face prison time.
The costs could be substantial, Bennett Milloy says. The family could be held responsible for the entire cost of putting the fire out — that means the cost of firefighters, helicopters, and more. The criminal charges might be serious, as well, given how far and wide the fire has already spread.
Arson convictions can result in a sentence of up to nine years. Milloy was asked if the family understood how serious the situation was, and he responded, “They understood the seriousness of the fire. … They genuinely believed it was an accident. But I think now they understand the gravity of the situation,” he said.
The incident is incredibly unfortunate. But it’s not the first time something like this has happened. Other gender reveal parties of a similar nature have caused wildfires to start before. It’s becoming clear that when people plan these kinds of events, far more caution needs to be taken.
While people have criticized the idea of having a party to reveal a baby’s sex, this very public and tragic even will likely shine a new light on the actual dangers of using smoke-producing devices to help create a dramatic reveal. It has a lot of people asking, “How far is too far?”
Even the blogger who has been largely credited with starting the gender reveal party trend spoke out about how it’s time to stop with the antics altogether. Jenna Karvunidis took to Facebook to condemn the over-the-top spectacles. “Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you,” she wrote.
Her post continued, “Toxic masculinity is men thinking they need to explode something because simply enjoying a baby party is for sissies. Oh, and of course I’m getting hate messages. 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. STOP.”
While a lot can be said about whether or not people should or shouldn’t have gender reveal parties for various reasons, we all should be able to agree that a disaster like this should never be the result of celebrating a baby-to-be, no matter the reason. We need to have more respect for nature than this. Unfortunately, precautions weren’t taken. Hopefully, it’s a lesson learned for anyone planning a party of this sort in the future.