SALT LAKE CITY ― It was a gender reveal party that not even Smokey Bear would approve of.
According to the Washington Post, Dennis Dickey, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, was off duty and celebrating his wife’s pregnancy when he unintentionally sparked a wildfire in southern Arizona that grew to a blazing 47,000 acres and required over 800 firefighters to contain. No injuries were reported from the fire and no buildings were damaged.
The Sawmill Fire was started when Dickey reportedly shot his rifle at a target filled with colored powder, which was intended to announce the gender of his baby, blue for a boy and pink for a girl.
But the target was also filled with Tannerite, a highly explosive yet legal substance that linked to starting fires in several other Western states, as reported by The Arizona Daily Star.
When paired with usually high winds and dry conditions the day of the gender reveal, the mixture in the target became a cocktail of destruction.
According to CBS, Dickey reported the fire to officials immediately and admitted to starting it. He has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of U.S. Forest Service regulations.
He will need to pay $220,000 in restitution, according to the Daily Star.
"It was a complete accident," Dickey reportedly told U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman Friday in court. "I feel absolutely horrible about it. It was probably one of the worst days of my life."
In pleading guilty, Dickey has also agreed to pay the $8 million in damage that the fire caused.