Officials: Firefighter battling fire sparked by gender-reveal event dies

Rebecca Plevin Palm Springs Desert SunPublished 10:40 AM EDT Sep 18, 2020A firefighter battling the El Dorado

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A firefighter battling the El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa has died, officials said early Friday.

The incident occurred on Thursday, according to a statement from U.S. Forest Service officials. The cause of death is under investigation and "more details will be made available as they are confirmed," according to the statement.

Officials are withholding the firefighter's name pending notification of next of kin.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time," officials said.

The El Dorado Fire, which was sparked during a gender reveal event on Sept. 5, has charred 19,098 acres and was 66% contained as of Thursday night.

The family that used a pyrotechnic device during the party have "absolutely been cooperating" with officials, Cal Fire Capt. Bennet Milloy told The Desert Sun last week.

No arrests had been made in the ongoing investigation and it will be up to the district attorney whether any charges will be filed, he said last week. Possible charges also depend on whether any homes are lost or injuries sustained, Milloy said at the time.

The fire was burning "more actively" along Highway 38 in the vicinity of Angelus Oaks, officials said Thursday. Fire crews continued to "directly attack the fire" to protect the community, they said.

Crews were also continuing "structure protection" from Pinezanita to Jens Lake.

The area east of Bryant Street on Highway 38 remained under an evacuation area as of Thursday night. That included the communities of Mountain Home, Forest Falls, Angelus Oaks, 7 Oaks and the Barton Flats/Jenks Lake area east to Onyx Summit.

This story will be updated.

Rebecca Plevin is a reporter for The Desert Sun. Reach her at Follow her on Twitter at @rebeccaplevin.
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