THE couple whose gender reveal stunt sparked the El Dorado wildfire that killed a firefighter last year have been charged over his death.
The pair is facing involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as two other counts related to sparking the massive southern California blaze.
AFPThe couple who sparked the El Dorado wildfire has been charged[/caption]
APFirefighter Charles Morton was killed in the blaze[/caption]
Authorities announced on Tuesday that Refugio Manuel Jimenez and Angela Renee Jiminez had pleaded not guilty the day before.
They were released pending a September 15 court date.
The El Dorado fire was sparked on September 5 when the couple was hosting a gender reveal party at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains.
They used a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device, which quickly ignited dry grass after they set it off in a field.
The couple tried to put the flames out with water bottles, but were unable to and called 911, authorities said.
EL DORADO’S PATH OF DESTRUCTION
The blaze burned for months, leaving miles of destruction in its path and killing firefighter Charles Morton.
Morton, 39, was the leader of the elite Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Squad and was killed on September 17 when the fire overran a remote area where firefighters were cutting fire breaks.
The blaze injured 13 other people and forced hundreds in the San Bernardino National Forest area to evacuate.
It destroyed five homes and 15 other buildings and blackened nearly 36 square miles of land.
It was finally contained on November 16.
The massive blaze was part of a record-breaking wildfire season in California last year, that burned more than 4 percent of the state, destroyed nearly 10,500 buildings, and killed 33 people.
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Wildfires have become increasingly hard to fight due to extremely dry conditions and heatwaves tied to climate change.
Currently, in Oregon, firefighters are battling the Bootleg Fire, which is one of the largest the state has ever seen.
The fire is so large, experts say, that it’s creating its own weather.
APThe blaze burned for months[/caption]
APThe couple who sparked the blaze is facing involuntary manslaughter charges[/caption]