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Part 6: Could This Happen To Me?

Jack Haskel
The view as Jack Haskel fled from a smoke-filled campground in Northern California in Sept. 2020. As a Trail Information Manager with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, he's concerned that more and more hikers and backpackers will encounter wildfires.

Last September, just days after the Mammoth Pool Reservoir rescues, thick orange smoke and falling ash from a different wildfire forced Jack Haskel to cut short a backpacking trip in Northern California. A few years before that, he had to evacuate a trail under similar circumstances in Oregon.

But not only is Jack a backpacker, he’s also a Trail Information Manager with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and he is increasingly finding himself spending his summer days fielding phone calls from hikers and backpackers seeing smoke and wondering what to do.

Credit Jack Haskel
Jack Haskel on a trail in Yosemite National Park.

In this interview, host Kerry Klein talks with Jack about why he worries that wildfire scares are the new normal for people spending time in the wilderness. He also offers up strategies for wildfire preparedness, before and during a trip.


  • Reporter/Producer: Kerry Klein
  • Editor: Alice Daniel
  • Web support: Alex Burke
  • Engineering support: Don Weaver
  • Music: written by Kevin MacLeod (songs: Unanswered Questions, Half Mystery)

This is the sixth 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.

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