New video shows the moment an Arizona wildfire that took 800 firefighters and $8.2 million to extinguish was sparked by explosive used to show the sex of a baby at a gender reveal party.
Border Patrol Agent Dennis Dickey admitted in court that he had shot a target that contained tannerite, which explodes when shot by a high-velocity firearm, while the target was planted in tall, dry grass.
The explosion went off as planned, but causing a rapidly-spreading wildfire was unplanned. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the spark began Arizona’s Sawmill Fire, which burnt through 47,000 acres.
The fire did not directly kill or injure any people or destroy homes.
Mr Dickey pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanour of causing a fire without a permit, and agreed to pay $220,000 in restitution, starting with $100,000 and $500 a month for the next 20 years, KOAA News5 reported. He also agreed to appear in a public service announcement about the cause of the fire.
The Arizona Daily Star filed a Freedom Of Information Act request to obtain video of the incident from the US Forest Service.
The video had parts of it blacked out to protect the privacy of the people involved. It also shows a square, dark coloured target with the words “boy” and “girl” written on it.
When hit by gunfire, the target explodes, shooting out flames and blue smoke. Traditionally, that indicates that Mr Dickey’s wife is having a boy.
The incident took place on state land in the Santa Rita Mountains. The Santa Rita Mountains, which are south of Tuscon, are currently listed as “abnormally dry,” whereas other parts of the state are in moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional drought, according to Drought.gov.