There have been at least 25 fatalities across more than two dozen California fires since Aug. 15

By Rachel DeSantis
September 18, 2020 11:10 AM
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El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino National Park
| Credit: Kyle Grillot for The Washington Post via Getty

A firefighter has died battling the El Dorado Fire in California, a blaze authorities previously said was sparked by a “gender reveal” party gone wrong.

The firefighter was killed on Thursday in San Bernardino National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” the release said.

The firefighter’s identity has not been released, and the cause of death is under investigation.

As wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire) said that as of Thursday, there have been 25 deaths linked to the more than two dozen fires statewide since Aug. 15. Nearly 5,400 structures have also been destroyed, and there are more than 17,400 firefighters working on the frontlines to stop the flames.

El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino National Forest
| Credit: Kyle Grillot for The Washington Post via Getty

The El Dorado Fire began on Sept. 5, and has burned nearly 20,000 acres across San Bernardino and Riverside Counties since then, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze remains 66 percent contained, and on Thursday, ground crews were attacking it directly with hose lines as they worked to strengthen fire containment lines.

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Cal Fire officials previously said that the fire was sparked by a “smoke generating pyrotechnic device” used during a “gender reveal” party.

“CAL FIRE reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire,” the agency said in a statement. “Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.”