An off-duty border patrol officer’s gender-reveal stunt at a family party went haywire after it ignited a wildfire that caused $8 million in damage to Arizona’s Coronado National Forest, according to a video released by the U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday.
The video, which was initially shot on April 23, 2017, showed a target in the middle of an Arizona desert south of Tucson displaying the words “boy” and “girl”.
Within seconds, the sound of a gunshot filled the air and the target detonated, revealing a powdery blue cloud of dust which set fire to the brush in the area.
“Start packing up!” someone shouted before the inferno spread to the neighboring Coronado National Forest.
The flames developed into the Sawmill Fire, which burned 46,991 acres of land owned by the federal government, the state, and individual property owners.
The off-duty border patrol agent behind the stunt, Dennis Dickey, pleaded guilty this past September to a misdemeanor for violating U.S. Forest Service regulations and received a sentence of five years’ probation as part of his plea deal.
He also had to pay a whopping $8,188,069 in fines to the federal government and agreed to take part in a public service announcement explaining the cause of the blaze, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
The 37-year-old man had filled the makeshift target with an explosive substance called Tannerite before shooting it with a rifle. Dickey’s plan was for the target to explode in either blue or pink to reveal to attendees of his party whether he and his wife were expecting a girl or a boy.
Dickey reported the fire to law enforcement officials, cooperating with authorities and telling them he started the fire.
He also profusely apologized to the judge, saying the blaze was “a complete accident.”
The Dickeys did not say whether the child was a boy or a girl.