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Here’s how a gender reveal party stunt ignited a massive Arizona wildfire

Dennis Dickey found out that he is expecting a boy, but the way he decided to get that information is going to cost him.

The U.S. Forest Service released video Tuesday of the explosive stunt that ignited the deadly Sawmill wildfire in Arizona last year.

Dickey has admitted in court that his gender reveal party was not just the spark, but the booming explosion that caused the fire to erupt in April 2017, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The conviction is a misdemeanor, but he’ll be fined $220,000 for starting the fire without a permit, court records say.

In the video, a male voice can be heard saying, “start packing up,” twice, after the yellow grass ignites. When the target explodes, a cloud of blue dust also quickly rises as the flames set in, signifying the gender of his wife’s expected baby.

The target that Dickey shot in the video was an explosive target, usually used in longer-range target practice with rifles. The explosive component in these targets is called Tannerite, which is legal.

It’s the same explosive used by a recently-divorced woman in Texas to blow up her wedding dress from 200 yards out at her “divorce party,” when her divorce became final earlier this month.

Tannerite has also been linked to other forest fires, though, according to KCFR.

The Sawmill Fire burned more than 47,000 acres in southern Arizona, causing about $8 million in damage and forcing more than 100 people to evacuate their homes, according to the Arizona Republic. It started on public land in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains.

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Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.
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