VIDEO: Gender reveal party leads to 73-square-mile wildfire

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Was it a boy or a girl? Actually, it was a fire.

The U.S. Forest Service released a video Monday that shows a wildfire in southern Arizona started when an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent shot at a target to reveal a baby's gender.

Dennis Dickey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in September for starting a 47,000-acre fire, dubbed the Sawmill Fire when it occurred in April 2017. But he had no intention of starting a blaze, according to an affidavit. He was just trying to reveal the gender of his upcoming child to family and friends.

On April 23, 2017, Dickey trekked near Green Valley, Arizona so he could have the ultimate gender reveal moment. Many parents, including Dickey, often have gender reveal celebrations for their soon-to-be newborns. This often involves documenting an action where a pink or blue color is revealed to indicate the sex of the child, such as cutting open a cake or unraveling a banner.

Dickey, however, had a more explosive idea.

The Tucson man decided to shoot at a target with his high-powered rifle so that it would explode in pink or blue powder, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office. To do this, he made the target himself and filled it with Tannerite, a legal but highly explosive substance.

The video released Monday shows the target explode after being hit with gunfire, sending a blue substance into the air. The tall, dry grass immediately bursts into flames.

A figure blacked out on the video moves toward the flames after a few seconds, but then backs up. A male voice twice shouts, "Start packing up!"

The shot caused an explosion that ignited the Sawmill Fire and the wildfire spread to Coronado National Forest. Dry conditions at the time also exacerbated the spreading of the fire, which grew to about 73-square miles in size and cost an estimated $8 million in damage.

Dickey immediately reported the fire to law enforcement, cooperated with the investigation and admitted that he started the blaze. He also repeatedly told the judge the incident was "a complete accident."

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation for starting a fire without a permit and made a plea agreement, agreeing to a sentence of five years of probation and to making a public service announcement with the U.S. Forest Service. He also has to pay a restitution totaling $8,188,069 with an initial payment of $100,000, according to the release.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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