Alberta’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa on Monday, July 6, 2020. A $600 fine was issued after a gender-reveal party led to a wildfire in Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Alberta’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa on Monday, July 6, 2020. A $600 fine was issued after a gender-reveal party led to a wildfire in Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Exploding device at gender reveal party leads to wildfire in northern Alberta

An exploding target turned into a fire about half the size of a Canadian Football League field

A $600 fine has been issued after a gender reveal party led to a wildfire in Alberta.

Travis Fairweather, a wildfire information officer, says the party was taking place about 10 kilometres west of Fort McMurray on May 31.

An exploding target full of blue or pink powder didn’t just reveal the baby’s gender — it started a significant blaze.

The fire grew in size to about half of a Canadian Football League field.

Ten wildland firefighters were dispatched to help local firefighting crews.

Fairweather says written permission is always required in Alberta to use fireworks or an exploding target.

“Fireworks and exploding targets — they can be fun, but they can also come with a hefty price tag if you end up inadvertently starting a wildfire.”

He says a person could also be charged with the cost of fighting the blaze.

Alberta legislation was amended in 2017 to allow for fines and the requirement for written approval.

”We were seeing enough of these exploding targets that it did require us to change the Forest Prairie Protection Act.”

It’s the third wildfire caused by an exploding target this season, but Fairweather says not all were necessarily gender reveal parties.

Fairweather says 2020 was a historically quiet fire season in Alberta, but the percentage of human-caused wildfires has increased significantly.

The five-year average is 68 per cent of fires being caused by people, but last year it was 88 per cent. So far this year, 76 per cent of fires have been human-caused.

“We’d like to see those numbers come down.”

Multiple wildfires have been linked to explosions at gender reveal parties in recent years throughout North America.

In 2020, a large fire east of Los Angeles was ignited by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device. A firefighter died battling the blaze, which was named the El Dorado Fire.

Jenna Myers Karvunidis, who has been credited for possibly starting the trend, has since expressed disdain for what the parties have become in light of the California fire.

“Could we just stop having these stupid parties and then the problem would solve itself,” she tweeted last September.

It’s also been five years since a wildfire so ferocious it earned the nickname “the beast” forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

Nearly 90,000 people had to flee the flames and thousands of buildings were destroyed in the northeastern Alberta oilsands hub.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Gender reveal party explosion rocks several U.S. towns

RELATED: In Fort McMurray, stark contrast between devastated and untouched neighbourhoods

Wildfires

Just Posted

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

(Photo submitted)
PHOTOS: Ponoka Secondary Campus grad

Ponoka Secondary Campus held a drive-in graduation ceremony for their 2021 graduating… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Victoria’s 2020 Canada Day celebration will not happen this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations backs cancelling Canada Day celebration

Statement made after Victoria cancels Canada Day event as a statement of reconciliation

United Nurses of Alberta is slamming Health Minister Tyler Shandro for suggesting staff vacations are causing emergency room problems. (Black Press Media files)
Physicians were suffering burnout and then the pandemic made it worse, UBC study finds

Burnout prevalent among 68 per cent of doctors – likely a reflection of issue globally, says researcher

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The federal government is bringing in a new coal policy saying new or expanded thermal coal mines create unacceptable environmental impacts.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable environmental effects:’ New federal policy restricts thermal coal

Policy puts another roadblock in front of Coalspur Mines and its Alberta Vista mine expansion

Kawasaki City Institute for Public Health Director General Nobuhiko Okabe speaks during a press conference after a roundtable on COVID-19 countermeasures at Tokyo 2020 Games in Tokyo, Friday, June 11, 2021. A group of experts participated in a third roundtable on COVID-19 countermeasures proposed for audience-related infection control. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics still undecided on fans — or no fans at all

Fans from abroad already banned from what is shaping up to be a largely made-for-television event

Most Read