U.S. wildfires: Firefighter dies battling California blaze

Eric Thayer for The New York Times A helicopter dropped water on the El Dorado Fire in Angelus Oaks Calif. on Tuesday

Eric Thayer for The New York Times A helicopter dropped water on the El Dorado Fire in Angelus Oaks Calif. on Tuesday

The firefighter died on Thursday while battling the El Dorado wildfire in California's San Bernardino National Forest, officials said on Friday.

This clip from Caltrans District 8 shows the fire burning close to Highway 38 near Angelus Oaks.

As of Friday morning, the fire has scorched more than 21,000 acres and was at 66% containment.

A Cal Fire statement said it was the 26th death involving wildfires besieging the state. "Ground crews were able to directly attack the fire utilizing hose lines to protect the community".

The couple reportedly used a cylindrical device to send either pink or blue smoke into the sky in order to reveal the sex of the baby, but sparked a fire in the process.

A firefighter has died in the fire sparked by a device at a gender reveal party earlier this month, California forest officials said.

'Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time, ' Forest Service spokesperson Zach Behrens said.

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The massive fire, which started after a pregnant couple set off a firework in El Dorado Ranch park, resulted in an initial containment effort consisting of more than 500 firefighters, 60 fire engines, and four helicopters. The cause of death is under investigation, it said, and the firefighter's identity won't be released until their family is notified.

Storms are expected to bring much-needed rain to the hard-hit western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, Doug Grafe, fire protection chief for Oregon's Forestry Department, told the Reuters news agency on Thursday.

The couple frantically tried to use bottled water to extinguish the flames and called 911.

It comes as more than 17,000 firefighters continue to battle more than two dozen major wildfires in California.

The region still faces a formidable recovery from the fires, which have burned some 3.2 million acres in California since mid-August and another 1.7 million acres in OR and Washington state since Labor Day.

"If investigative reports are filed with our office, we will review all facts, evidence, statements, and reports to determine what criminal charges, if any, need to be filed", Anderson said. The fire burned 73 square miles (189 square kilometers) and caused $8 million in damage, The agent was charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to probation.

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