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Creek Fire and KVPR's Broadcasts on FM 89.3

A view of the Creek Fire burning in Jose Basin, to the NE of our transmitter site in Meadow Lakes, CA on Monday September 7, 2020

UPDATE: 9/14/20 1:00 PM - PG&E service has been restored at Meadow Lakes transmitter sites, meaning we are no longer running on our backup generator. While fire conditions could change at any time and threaten the transmitter site, our area is not currently in immediate danger.

UPDATE: 9/11/20 1:00 PM - The transmitter towers and homes at Meadow Lakes have largely been spared by the Creek Fire thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters. Growth in the fire has slowed in recent days, but the threat to the Meadow Lakes and Shaver Lake area remains, especially if winds and weather conditions change. We remain ready to deploy emergecy equipment to an alternate transmitter site, but we are optimistic at this time that will not be necessary.

UPDATE: 9/10/20 3:30 PM - The KVPR 89.3 generator has been refueled and the station is back on-air. We were off-air for less than 30 minutes.

UPDATE: 9/10/20, 2:30 PM - Thanks to the tireless work of firefighters, the KVPR transmitter at Meadow Lakes has thus far survived the Creek Fire. The site remains in an active fire zone and it still could be damaged by flames. We are currently running on backup generator as there is currently no electricity at the site. Our generator could run out of fuel within the next 12-24 hours. We are attempting to refill our fuel tanks this afternoon (Thursday) at around 3:00 PM. In order to do that we will need to power off the generator for 15-30 minutes, which will take us off air for a short time. 

Original post September 7, 2020:

The Creek Fire is currently burning with no containment in the mountains of Fresno and Madera County. On Sunday the Fresno County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation for communities including Meadow Lakes, which is the site of the KVPR 89.3  transmitter. On Monday the fire continued to burn in the Jose Basin area, approaching Meadow Lakes from the east. 

We have taken precautions, along with the other broadcasters in the area, to reduce the fire risk and create defensible space at the transmitter site. Meadow Lakes is home to close to a dozen broadcast towers serving Fresno radio and tv stations, as well as other vital telecommunications equipment serving public safety, wireless and public utility customers.

However, given the unpredictable and unprecedented nature of this fire, the risk that the fire could interrupt our broadcasts on FM 89.3 is real. If this happens, our broadcasts on FM 89.1 in Kern County and our online stream at KVPR.org and all other digital platforms will not be affected, and will continue with programming as normal. Our broadcast studios and offices, located in Clovis, CA are not threatened by this fire. All personnel are safe at this time.

We have taken steps to prepare for a worst-case scenario including the loss of our transmitter and/or tower, by renting an emergency backup tower and transmitter from NPR. We hope we will not need to use these resources, but we want to have them in place if we need to. If we do suffer damage that forces us off the air, it may take some time before the station can be returned to the air, and it may return at reduced power. 

Pacific Gas and Electric operates a webcam in the vicinity of our tower at Meadow Lakes, which displays real time still photos of the site, and a time lapse video of recent activity, which is available here. 

Our thoughts are with all the people affected by this devastating wildfire. Current information about evacuations is available here:

Fresno County

Madera County

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.