A firefighter has died battling the monster blaze sparked by a pyrotechnic device used for a gender-reveal party in Southern California, U.S. Forest Service officials confirmed Friday morning.
The firefighter was not immediately identified and no details were given about the exact cause of death related to the El Dorado Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest.
“Law Enforcement and Fire crews are currently searching for a MISSING HOT SHOT near Pinezanita,” SoCal Air Operations said in a Twitter post late Thursday.
San Bernardino County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol helicopters assisted with the aerial search as officials tried to call the firefighter’s cellphone. They worked overnight to locate the device through pinging.
Forest Service officials confirmed the tragic death early Friday.
“The name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” officials said in a short statement.
CAL FIRE Law Enforcement has determined the El Dorado Fire was sparked Sept. 5 by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a gender-reveal party at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa.
The fire quickly spread from the park to the north on to Yucaipa Ridge that separates Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls from the City of Yucaipa.
The wildfire has burned more than 21,600 acres and was about 66% contained as of Friday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Fueled by dry brush and adverse weather conditions, the fire forced the evacuations of 3,467 people and destroyed four homes and six outbuildings, officials said.
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