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The Gender Reveal Party That Sparked A Wildfire

An off-duty Border Patrol agent in the U.S. was celebrating his wife's pregnancy at a gender reveal party in April 2017, when he accidentally started a wildfire. 

Dennis Dickey has been slapped with more than $305,000 in fines for causing the fire in Arizona without a permit.

The fire started when Dickey shot a target that contained the explosive substance Tannerite that detonates when shot by a high-powered firearm.

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The explosive target contained coloured powder to reveal the gender of the baby -- pink for a girl and blue for a boy. The explosive however, spread to areas nearby and became a whopping 190.2 square kilometre wildfire that took 800 firefighters about a week to contain.

A federal court judge heard that Dickey reported the fire to police immediately and admitted he started the blaze.

"It was a complete accident," Dickey, 37, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman in court on Friday.

"I feel absolutely horrible about it. It was probably one of the worst days of my life."

Dickey will pay $139,000 when he is sentenced on October 9 and then a further sum of $160,000 will be paid in $695 monthly installments. The fire cost the state about $11 million.

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Dickey was not ordered to pay back the full amount because the court acknowledged the fire was not deliberately lit.

Luckily no injuries were reported from the fire, however some houses in neighbouring areas were evacuated.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au.