A Canadian has been fined $600 after an exploding target used at a gender reveal party started a wildfire.
A family was holding the party May 31 in the woods near the town of Fort McMurray, which is located in the northeastern part of the Alberta province and is surrounded by forest. The family had an exploding target that was set to release either pink or blue powder when a projectile hit it.
But it “didn’t just reveal the baby’s gender — it started a significant blaze,” according to the Canadian Press news service. The fire grew to about half a hectare, roughly 50,000 square feet.
“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,” wildfire information officer Travis Fairweather told the service. Firefighters who specialize in forest fires joined local fire departments in putting out the blaze.
Gender reveal parties have become popular with expectant parents in recent years but have also received significant criticism for reinforcing the gender binary and gender stereotypes, overemphasizing the importance of genitalia, and endangering people, property, and the environment when explosives are used.
Fireworks from a gender reveal party in Southern California caused a huge wildfire last year, and one firefighter died in the effort to get it under control. This year a man in New York State was killed by an exploding gender reveal device he built. The woman believed to have invented or at least popularized gender reveal parties has said the practice should end.
“Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties,” Jenna Karvunidis wrote on Facebook last September, after the California fire. “For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid's’s penis. No one cares but you.”
The family involved in the Canadian incident hasn’t been publicly identified, but the person who authorities deemed responsible has been fined. There’s no word on whether the explosion was pink or blue.