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Could The Next Camp Fire Happen In The San Joaquin Valley Or Foothills?

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Kerry Klein
/
Valley Public Radio
Jim McDougald is the Chief for Protection and Planning in the Fresno/Kings Unit of CalFire, the state firefighting agency.

After tearing through nearly 250,000 acres in Northern and Southern California, the devastating Camp and Woolsey Fires are creeping toward full containment. But their destruction may not be over: They’ve so far killed 82 people, with hundreds still missing; and though they’ve destroyed over 14,000 homes, just as many are still being threatened.

While the San Joaquin Valley and foothill areas have seen their fair share of big, destructive fires, some of the deadliest and most damaging in California’s history have happened to the north and south of us. But does that mean tragic fires like those can’t happen here?

We spoke about this with Jim McDougald, Division Chief for Protection and Planning with CalFire in Fresno and Kings Counties. Listen to the interview for some history on the worst fires to hit Central California, the ingredients that made the Camp and Woolsey Fires so destructive, and why fires of that magnitude are unlikely to happen in this part of California.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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