After an unusually dry summer, the wildfire season has arrived, with fires in California, Oregon and Washington consuming millions of acres of woodlands and destroying hundreds of homes and residences. Tragically, one of these fires appears to have been caused bu human folly and negligence. In today’s post, the California wildfire injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm reports on a recent wildfire that appears to have been caused by gross negligence.
According to reliable local sources in central California, the “El Dorado Ranch” fire began when fireworks were set off at a “Gender Reveal” party that was organized and held with full knowledge of the danger of fires due to weather conditions. If you aren’t familiar with what a “Gender Reveal” party is, read on!
For those of us who are not familiar with the concept, a “Gender Reveal” party is a gathering where expectant parents “reveal” the sex of their unborn child. Although such parties are not unique to California, that state seems to have been the origin of what has evolved unto something of a right of passage for parents-to-be. And as with any other human social gathering, “one-upmanship” appears to have become the accepted norm as some expectant parents have staged full-blown entertainment packages to announce their unborn child’s biological sex.
In the case of the El Dorado Ranch fire which, at last estimate, had consumed some 17,600 acres of California woodlands and was reported to be only 50% contained after a breakthrough that threatened the town of Angelus Oaks, it has been reported by numerous reliable sources that fireworks set off at a gender reveal party were responsible for the wildfire.
As we have noted in other posts concerning wildfires, many such disasters are due to human carelessness. In some cases, the act of carelessness was purely accidental and in other cases the cause was eventually traced to sparks from an electric power line. Tragically, some wildfires have been tied to deliberate arson and sheer negligence. The El Dorado fire seems to fit into the latter category.
In law, a person commits an act of negligence through the willful performance of some act even through that person knew, or should have known, that his action posed a danger to others. If it can be shown in court that his or her actions led to an injury or some other harm to another individual, the negligent party could be held liable for that injury and be ordered to pay damages. In the case of the El Dorado Fire, if the alleged circumstances or the fire’s origin are confirmed by law enforcement, the hosts of the gender reveal party may be liable for the extensive damage caused by the fire. A court could hold that:
weather conditions made it probable that a fire would start in the presence of a heat source
the party hosts were aware of the danger of fire but decided to proceed with their planned party, including the fireworks
the fireworks, although properly used, started a wildfire
by ignoring the risks of fire, the hosts could be found liable for any damages secondary to the fire.
At The Doan Law Firm, we will continue to monitor the wildfire crisis in the western states and will comment as necessary when the situation changes.