Border Patrol Agent Pleads Guilty To Starting 47,000-Acre Fire With Explosives

A U.S. border patrol agent has pleaded guilty to accidentally starting an April 2017 wildfire that consumed 47,000 acres in Arizona.

Dennis Dickey, 37, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for starting the Sawmill Fire, reported NBC News.

Dickey said he did not intend to start the blaze, he was simply using an explosive method of revealing the gender of his baby-to-be.

On April 23, 2017, Dickey decided no stray from the traditional methods of revealing the gender of a fetus, such as unraveling a banner, or cutting into a cake to find either pink or blue. He chose to use a colored explosion.

He used a rifle to shoot a homemade target filled with tannerite, a legal explosive designed to detonate when impacted by a high-velocity shot.

The shot was a “success” and the target exploded, but with the unexpected consequence of starting the Sawmill Fire, which spread to Coronado National Forest.

The fire, which was battled by around 800 firefighters, grew to approximately 47,000 acres and caused over $8 million in damage.

As part of his misdemeanor plea of starting a fire without a permit, Dickey agreed to pay restitution of $8,188,069. Tuscon.com reported Dickey will actually only pay $220,000, $500 a month for the next 20 years, and an initial payment of $100,000.

He will also have 5 years of probation and will make a public service announcement with the U.S. Forest Service.

Dickey did immediately report the unintentional fire and quickly admitted his mistake to law enforcement.

The Dickeys did not say whether the explosion was pink or blue.