More advised to evacuate as El Dorado Fire, sparked during gender reveal party, grows to 11,259 acres

Local news

A new evacuation warning was issued Tuesday night that ignited over the weekend as a result of a gender reveal mishap in the Yucaipa area.

Officials say the El Dorado Fire had scorched 11,259 acres and was 19% contained as of Tuesday night — up from 10,574 acres with 16% containment earlier in the day, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s InciWeb information site.

Santa Ana winds that prompted a red flag warning in the area Tuesday were expected to fan the flames overnight, prompting officials to leave mandatory evacuation orders in place.

At 9 p.m., officials also issued a new evacuation warning due to a “potential threat to life and/or property” for residents north of Oak Glen Road, south of Highway 38, west of Bryant Street and east of Garnet Street.

Those who would require additional time to evacuate, including those with pets or livestock, were advised to leave immediately.

Residents could flee the area by heading west on Highway 38 or south on Bryant Street, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said.

Residents in parts of Oak Glenn, Forest Falls, Mountain Home Village and other portions of Yucaipa had previously been asked to leave their homes.

Overnight winds were expected to reach 20 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph, fire officials said.

Residents can sign up for emergency alerts on the San Bernardino County website. The Red Cross has set up a reception site at the Yucaipa Community Center.

The fire was started about 10:30 a.m. Saturday by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party in El Dorado Ranch Park, according to investigators.

Surveillance video of the incident apparently shows a person lighting the device as a couple and several children are walking nearby, CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy told CNN Monday.

After it ignites, the family is seen scrambling and grabbing water bottles to try to douse the growing fire. Everyone involved has cooperated with investigators, Milloy said.

Fire officials have not released the video, saying the investigation is ongoing.

The person who ignited the pyrotechnic could be charged with misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the level of recklessness.

“It really is a tragedy, it’s sad. They were hoping to remember the day in a different way,” Milloy said, adding that over 80% of fires are caused by humans and that people must be more aware of their surroundings. “You need to be extra cautious because you could be liable.”

No injuries have been reported and no homes have been damaged as a result of the fire.

The fire continues to burn as crews are also battling the 10,300 acre Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest.

Authorities urged residents in the foothill communities of the San Gabriel Mountains to prepare to evacuate with the arrival of Tuesday’s Santa Ana winds.

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