Explosive Baby Gender Reveal Stunt Sparked Massive Wildfire That Took 800 Firefighters a Week to Put Out

When US Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey decided to reveal the gender of his soon-to-be-born baby to family and friends in an explosive fashion, he never imagined that his stunt would spark a 45,000 acre wildfire, but that’s exactly what it did.

The 37-yer-old Border Patrol agent planned to fire a shotgun at a target that would explode with either pink or blue powder, thus revealing the gender of his unborn child. There were a few things he didn’t really think through, though. First, he packed the target with a legal but highly explosive compound called Tannerite, for a more dramatic effect, and he also chose to place that target among dry grasses and mesquite trees. When Dickey fired his shotgun, blue smoke exploded from the target, revealing that his child was a boy, but there was no time to celebrate, as the explosion immediately ignited the surrounding the dry plants.

The flames spread quickly and eventually turned into a massive wildfire that burned through over 45,000 acres of land along Arizona’s Highway 83 and forcing hundreds of people out of their homes. Known as the Sawmill Wildfire, the blaze took around 800 firefighters a week to put out and cost the state millions of dollars in damages and suppression costs.

The Sawmill Wildfire ravaged Arizona in April of 2017, but a video of the stupid accident that caused it was only recently published by the Arizona Star newspaper from the U.S. Forest Service.

After the explosion, as the flames engulf the dry grass, two men whose appearances have been edited out can be seen running in front of the camera. “Start packing up!” a man shouts. “Huh?” another man asks. “Start packing up!” the man shouts again.


The off-duty Border Patrol agent immediately called law enforcement and admitted to accidentally starting the fire. Luckily, the Sawmill Wildfire did not cause any human injuries or destroy any buildings, but Dickey will still have to pay for his stupid mistake. He pleaded guilty to a charge of causing a fire without a permit and agreed to pay $100,000 when he was sentenced in October and another $120,000 in monthly payments of $500 over 20 years. That’s a lot better than having to pay the initial compensation set by the court – $8,188,069.

Dickey also agreed to serve five years probation and appear in public service videos to discourage others from making the same mistake he did.

“I feel absolutely horrible about it” Dennis Dickey said at one of his hearings. “It was probably one of the worst days of my life.”