Gender reveal party started 47,000 acre wildfire

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty To Starting Wild Fire During Gender Reveal

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A gender reveal celebration went horribly wrong and caused a 47,000-acre wildfire in Arizona. Now an off-duty Border Patrol agent is being held responsible for sparking the Sawmill Fire last year.

Dennis Dickey pleaded guilty in federal court last week to causing a fire without a permit, a misdemeanor charge, The Arizona Daily Star reported.

Dickey shot at a target in April 2017 to announce the gender of the child he and his wife were expecting. The target had Tannerite which is described as a substance that explodes when hit with a bullet from a high-velocity firearm.

Tannerite is legal but has been connected to several other wildfires.

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As soon as the fire started, Dickey told law enforcement that he started the blaze.

As part of Dickey's plea, he will play $100,000 in restitution, taken from his retirement fund at sentencing on Oct. 9. He will also have to pay $500 a month for 20 years, paying an additional $120,000 in restitution, The Sahuarita Sun reported. Dickey agreed to pay a total of $8,188,069 in restitution as part of the plea agreement, as well as serve five years probation and create a public service announcement for the U.S. forest Service about the cause of the Sawmill Fire, prosecutors said.

The Sawmill Fire caused more than $8 million in damage in April 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona. It burned more than 45,000 acres of land that is under the purview of Arizona, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other private owners.

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