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Part 7: Climate Change, Fire Suppression, And The Growing Human Toll Of Wildfires

Kerry Klein
Rock Haven, a 160-acre development near Shaver Lake that's home to a cluster of historic cabins, survived the Creek Fire with only minor damage low to the ground.

The emergency rescues at Mammoth Pool Reservoir last September didn't happen in a vacuum. Wildfires in the West are getting bigger, faster, and more intense, and “megafires” like the Creek Fire, driven largely by climate change and a century of fire suppression, are putting people and infrastructure more at risk than ever. 

This conversation features CalFire/Fresno County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Urias; Province Ecologist Marc Meyer and Research Economist Jose Sanchez with the U.S. Forest Service; Sergeant Jeff Andriese, Aerial Supervisor with the California Highway Patrol; and Registered Professional Forester Julianne Stewart. 

Credit Kerry Klein / KVPR
Forester Julianne Stewart stands in Rock Haven, which survived the Creek Fire after she supervised forest treatments there that removed excess trees and brush from the ground. For a time, CalFire used the property as a command center to protect the community of Shaver Lake from the fire.

This is the final episode in this series, but don’t unsubscribe just yet – we may post some updates and bonus content later this fall!


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

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.

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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