Over 22,000 Acres Burned Following Gender Reveal Party Fire

Following a gender reveal party, the El Dorado fire outside San Bernardino destroyed ten structures, damaged six more, and caused 13 injuries. One firefighter lost his life while battling the blaze.

Clouds of blue smoke to indicate a boy preceded the flames. The expectant parents attempted to put out the fire with bottled water without much success.

The incident was enough to have many people start calling for these events to stop.

How Gender Reveal Parties Got Out of Control

When the first gender reveal parties were held, the intent was to bring families together. It allowed everyone to get involved with the pregnancy early, creating a closer experience for the baby upon arrival.

As families started posting their gender reveal parties online, expecting couples felt the need to start outdoing each other.

Some of the more extreme options have been to burn car tires, use exotic animals, and shoot explosive canisters.

The goal is no longer about bringing families together. It’s about trying to perform the event for others to get some notoriety online.

The El Dorado fire isn’t the only one to have started because of this event in recent years. A 2017 party in Arizona had an explosion that ended up burning over 47,000 acres.

What Can We Do in the Future?

Although some are calling for gender reveal parties to stop, the issue is more of one that involves responsibility.

If you’re going to have explosives at this event, contact your fire department to be standing by should something go out of control.

We can also return to the communal experience without being overly destructive. We’ve made progress on our views about gender in recent years, but these events still celebrate duality. Whether you’re for or against the idea of multiple genders, we can turn these events into a life celebration.

It is time for us to be in control of our choices and consequences. The El Dorado fire, and others like it, are entirely preventable.

Why Microscopic Particulate Matter in Wildfire Smoke is Concerning

Particulate Matter pollution is a significant health threat. You breathe it into your lungs every time wildfire smoke is in the air.

Even if the pollution blows in from hundreds of miles away, the reduced air quality can be dangerous to your health.

If you’re generally healthy, short-term exposure to smoke won’t create significant risk factors to manage. It is still a good idea to avoid breathing it because of the microscopic items it contains.

How Come PM Pollution is Dangerous?

When you inhale particulates, the microscopic pollution penetrates deeply into the lung tissue. Large materials can coat your air passageways, leaving their contaminants to leech into your body.

You can tell if the particulate matter affects you because your eyes start burning, it becomes harder to breathe, and you might experience chest pain.

Anyone with heart or lung disease may experience worsening symptoms with exposure to wildfire smoke.

You may also have more phlegm to manage, experience wheezing, or have a cough develop that doesn’t go away.

How to Protect Yourself From Particulate Matter

The best way to protect yourself from particulate matter is to avoid going outside. Staying indoors while filtering any air that comes from the outside can prevent PM exposure. You may need to run your air conditioner to accomplish this outcome, cleaning your filter periodically to ensure it operates correctly.

Try to avoid using anything that burns when outside pollution levels are high. Even candles can stir up the microscopic particles that worked their way indoors.

Taking care of yourself during these times is critical. Now is an excellent opportunity to stock your cabinet with health items from brands like NOW Foods and Nutri-Dyn.

A dust mask won’t stop the particulates from entering your lungs. It would be best if you had a P-100 or N-95 respirator to protect your breathing. These items are often sold out at stores because of the COVID-19 threat.

It also helps to follow your common sense. When it smells like a wildfire outside, don’t mow the lawn. If you must go out, stay in your vehicle with the air filter engaged to reduce exposure levels.

$5 Billion Paid to California Firefighters Annually

After several seasons of dry weather and mandatory water restrictions, California enjoyed a brief period of record rainfall during the 2019 spring season.

Unfortunately, after falling back into a dry period, all of that new summer plant growth became kindling which sparked some of the worst fires ever in California history.

But it wasn’t just weather contributing to fires. Electrical utilities maintained by PG&E sparked at least 19 fires in 2017 and 2018, and have also been blamed for the Camp Fire that left 86 dead and destroyed the town of Paradise.

The need to keep fires contained and away from populated areas has led to a 65% rise in wages for firefighters over the last decade. The largest contributor to this sudden rise is overtime pay.

In 2011, 41 firefighters earned more than $100,000 in overtime pay. That number rose to 1,085 in 2018. According to the New York Times reporting, around 200 firefighters earned more than $300,000 in 2018, representing a third of all payroll for L.A. firefighters.

For some pundits, and perhaps even the taxpayers who fund county firefighting services, these numbers are surprising. But experts argue that after factoring in training and benefits of new firefighters, it is cheaper to pay overtime.

But there are still concerns over overtime policies. Currently, overtime is dictated by federal regulations that govern overtime, pre-negotiated contracts between management and unions, and the use of “constant staffing” models that see some firefighters in stations for a 24-hour period.

The Los Angeles country Fire Department has launched a campaign to argue for increases in revenue to increase staffing levels. This money is not required to keep services running to fight fires, as budget shortfalls resulting from wildfires are reimbursed under California’s mutual aid system that redistributes money across jurisdictions and the federal government.

Looking beyond the money, officials argue that firefighters are subjected to long hours and are at constant risk of mental and physical health problems. Meaning that some of these rising expenses are also the result of paying for lost time when firefighters are injured on the job. One fire official also said that there has been a 50% increase in medical calls and that the funding isn’t there to hire more staff.

There are also caps on overtime, but during emergencies, like wildfires, those caps get lifted.

Officials are actively working to understand the overtime system better to ensure that taxpayer money is used efficiently. But with the rising number of fires threatening California homes, a solution that all parties involved can agree on may not come easily.