Oops! Gender Reveal Ballistic Boom Starts 45,000 Acre Wildfire, Costs Dad Over $100,000

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Arizona Sawmill Wildfire Gender Reveal Party 45,000 Acres
courtesy AP

Remember these things? We wrote about the latest trend in gender reveal parties earlier this year. The idea is the proud parents gather all of their friends and relatives, then one of them shoots either a blue or a pink binary target to let the whole world know that they’re the first parents ever in the history of the world to have a boy or a girl.

That’s how it’s supposed to go anyway. But when Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey shot one of those things near Green Valley, Arizona last year, he touched off a 45,000 acre fire that caused $8 million in damage and took 800 firefighters to douse.

Winds had been gusting around 40 mph at the time and the National Weather Service had issued a fire watch, the Arizona Daily Star reported in May 2017. No injuries were reported, but hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate, according to the newspaper.

Last week Dickey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation for causing the fire.

“It was a complete accident,” Dickey told a judge Friday. “I feel absolutely horrible about it. It was probably one of the worst days of my life.”

Don’t think he’s getting off easy with the misdemeanor charge.

In his plea agreement, Dickey agreed to a sentence of five years’ probation, and to make a public service announcement with the U.S. Forest Service concerning the cause of the Sawmill fire.  Dickey agreed to pay restitution totaling $8,188,069.  Dickey also agreed to make an initial payment of $100,000 toward the restitution judgment and monthly payments thereafter.

There goes the kid’s college fund.


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  1. Still not sure why gender reveal is a thing. Excitement expressed upon reveal sort of denotes disappointment is an option. In this case I’m sure he is plenty disappointed.

    • Successful evacuation of the birth canal is the only milestone that matters in this society. Gender is just style points.

        • Give it a bit, Larry. The progs will have that done away with if they get their way.

          “Baby, 1, generic. Gender neutralization process completed successfully. Parents will be able to take their new child unit home once the mandatory “raising your non-binary baby” indoctrination class has been completed and the newborn has recovered from Inclusion surgery.”

    • Depends on the binary explosives. Tannerite supposedly won’t. I’m no expert. but there are competing brands. (Or ways to make your own homemade).

      • Number 2 son placed tannerite in a dead tree, shot the tannerite and it catches the tree on fire

      • Appears you are correct. Some competing companies use fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate and not explosive grade. Must not be tannerite. I think tannerite is now a household name like kleenex and jello

      • The *speed* of the conversion to inert Nitrogen gas evolves a fair amount of heat…

        • And the sheer velocity of things moving very quickly striking other things can create sparks that will ignite things…

    • It was the excessive amount of Stupid. Stupid burns. North of 8 million dollars worth of Stupid is a lot of burn.

  2. “Dickey agreed to pay restitution totaling $8,188,069. Dickey also agreed to make an initial payment of $100,000 toward the restitution judgment and monthly payments thereafter.”

    This is being paid by a Border Patrol agent??? I guess I’m in the wrong line of work… Or am I paying for this, through .gov?

    • He’ll never pay it back. From what I read elsewhere he’ll probably pay something like $500 a month and be in debt forever. Which, by the way, is not a good position to put someone in if they’re still employed on the Mexico border as some type of law enforcement…

      • It could be a very good position to be in if someone needs something moved (or ‘gun walked) over the border…

    • C4vEman,

      I had the exact same thought and even copied the exact same excerpt expecting to paste it in the comments section here. You obviously beat me to it.

    • I’m wondering if it’s the sort of debt that survives bankruptcy, or if he can file a Chapter 13 and hand his paychecks over to a trustee for five years and be done with it.

      • The old rule I was taught in law school was that four types of indebtedness could not be discharged in bankruptcy — Taxes, Wages, Alimony and Torts. For obvious reasons, it was called the “TWAT Rule.”

        Law school was fun.

    • Poor Guy–no pun intended! Hope he’s able to find a job opening as a corporate CEO somewhere making a 7 figure salary! What’s the chance of a “non-insider” finding a job like that !? If he’s NOT employed in the Law Enforcement community anymore…I DON’T think a McDonald’s, or contract security guards job will pick up the tab for this one…Maybe Google could give him a 6-figure job, or maybe HollyWeird…They seam to have lots of “💰💰💰custom made 💰💰💰” jobs available for useless and talentless, Liberal Progressive actors! If he repentance, disavows GUNS/Firearms/accessories, maybe someone could put in a good word for this poor sod with “EveryTown for Gun Safety”. Everyone from TTAG could say he was a victim of the NRA and it was THEIR fault! SOROs could help fund this poor misguided soul! LOL! SOROs said he had plenty of money. So didn’t BloomBORG….

  3. UNFORTUNATELY he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge — which means this idiot is still walking around with a gun and a badge. I have no objection to probation and the fake “restitution” (which will never be paid) this idiot does not need to have a gun.

    • Most states do not allow procession of firearms or dangerous weapons while on probation. Misdemeanor or Felony. Most states, maybe his is different, then again he’s in law enforcement so rules do not apply. So yup this idiots out there with a gun.

    • It was an inadvertent fire violation which he immediately reported (and admitted to). It had serious results, but the ‘crime’ was no more heinous than improperly setting up a campfire. You’re acting like he decided to burn a forest down.

    • “This idiot does not need a gun”….

      These are the words of the LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE LEFT….
      I would advise you NEVER speak such FILTHY words in the presence of 2A Patriots EVER AGAIN…. you can keep that LIBERAL THINK to yourself…




  4. Oh how 20th century, Gender reveal. A child not even born yet and the parents are already picking gender for the child.

  5. Dickey agreed to pay restitution totaling $8,188,069. Dickey also agreed to make an initial payment of $100,000 toward the restitution judgment and monthly payments thereafter.

    Did some houses burn down? How was the 8 million tallied?

    If lighting struck and caused the fire (which routinely happens) who pays for that? God?

    Part of the problem (besides his recklessness) is that they never let the forests naturally burn. So they are perpetually in a state of perfect kindling, for someone like Dickey to luckily come along so they can charge him 8 million, and enslave him for the rest of his life partially because the odds were stacked against him.

    • Labor’s expensive. 8 mil divided by 800 firefighters would be $10k apiece. Plus cost of water, materials, fuel for the trucks/planes. I didn’t see how long it burned but it was just shy of 47,000 acres. Thats $170 an acre

  6. Isn’t there a little amendment that says no outrageous, unusual or cruel punishments?
    8 mil is 80 years at 100k a year. No one seriously earns that much in a lifetime unless your a crooked politician or rapper.
    Punish him financially , sure. But it wasn’t a malicious act meant to destroy the forest. He needs a good attorney to fight this.

    • That’s not punishment, that’s restitution for actual damages done.

      If you’re not in a no-fault state and you wreck somebody’s $8 million dollar car, guess what you owe the guy?

  7. I get he caused the fire, even though it was not intentional, but $8,000,000? I can see giving him a fine and community service but come on!! That’s a little extreme! With that being said I do understand your actions have consequences, but that’s way too many consequences! Yeah, he made a mistake, a huge mistake, and I’m sure he knows how idiotic it was now. Just your name and picture out there is enough to embarrass the crap out of you. Give the guy a break and also his unborn child!

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