Authorities identify firefighter who died battling ferocious wildfire sparked by gender reveal party

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By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

Authorities announced Monday that the firefighter who died battling the El Dorado wildfire, sparked by gender-reveal pyrotechnics in the Yucaipa area, was a San Diego native. 

This is the fire triggered by a firework set off during a gender reveal party.

Charles Morton, 39, a squad boss with the Big Bear Interagency Hotshots, died September 17, according to San Bernardino National Forest officials.

Morton was born in San Diego and started his career in 2002 as Corpsman with the California Conservation Corps at the Butte Fire Center in Magalia, according to officials with the U.S. Forest Service.

He began working for the U.S. Forest Service in 2006 with the Truckee Interagency Hotshots on the Tahoe National Forest, then joined the San Bernardino National Forest in 2007.

"Charlie was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times," U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to Charlie's loved ones, coworkers, friends and the Big Bear Hotshots. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers." Morton is survived by his wife and daughter, his parents, two brothers, cousins and friends, according to a statement from his family. The El Dorado fire broke out Sept. 5 near Yucaipa in San Bernardino County. As of 9 p.m.

The fire has burned 22,588 acres and is 60% contained.

Cal Fire has said criminal charges could be brought against the hosts of the gender reveal party that triggered the blaze.

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