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Gender Reveal Party Sparks 10-Acre Wildfire

Chief says a brush fire can hurt response to medical calls
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2020 9:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – First responders in Florida weren't looking for another emergency, but that's what they got last weekend when a gender reveal party turned into a fast-moving,10-acre brush fire. Crews first were told fireworks might have been the cause, CNN reports. "We were informed that it was caused by a gender reveal using Tannerite and a weapon," the Brevard County Fire Rescue chief said. Often used as a rifle target, Tannerite is a highly explosive substance. The county is under a burn ban, per WESH; open burning can bring a fine of as much as $500 and jail time.

This is a bad time for calls that could have been avoided, officials said. "Especially during all these potential COVID responses and medical responses it can quickly overwhelm resources," Chief Mark Schollmeyer said, "and by that I mean, it will leave no resources to respond to those medical calls when needed." The number of fires has been increasing, Schollmeyer said: "We want to prevent those wildfires started carelessly." This one took several hours to contain, with no homes lost. "Something as seemingly innocent as a gender reveal, can turn into a large-scale disaster where homes are threatened." (Read more gender reveal party stories.)

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