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Part 2: The 10-Minute Drive That Lasted An Eternity

In last week’s episode, campers were in the throes of panic and chaos as they prepared to evacuate their campground. This week, they navigate two miles down a narrow, winding dirt road, its perils made all the more dangerous by the oppressive smoke and encroaching flames from the Creek Fire.


  • Reporter/Producer: Kerry Klein
  • Editor: Alice Daniel
  • Web support: Alex Burke
  • Music: written by Kevin MacLeod (songs: Acid Trumpet, Beauty Flow, Half Mystery, Rising Tide, Unanswered Questions, Winter Reflections)
  • Sound effects: FreeSound

Below: two videos of flames and flying embers closing in on the lake where hundreds of evacuees had huddled for safety. (courtesy of Alex Tettamanti)

This is the second episode of KVPR’s podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool: the true story of how 242 people and 16 dogs escaped one of the fastest-moving wildfires in California’s recorded history.

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.
Related Content
  • The true story of how 242 people—and 16 dogs—survived one of the fastest-moving, most intense wildfires in California history, as the Creek Fire closed in on their campground at Mammoth Pool Reservoir over Labor Day weekend 2020.
  • Escape From Mammoth Pool, a new limited-run podcast from KVPR, is the true story of how 242 people and 16 dogs escaped one of the fastest-moving wildfires in California history. In this first episode, we meet these three families and hear about the quick decisions they had to make in those first moments as the fire hurtled toward them.