"The Monster Inferno"

Feb 14, 2018

The Thomas Fire was the largest brush fire in California history, burning 282,000 acres of land and destroying more than a thousand homes.

KCLU provided the most extensive coverage of the fire of any radio station in the region, with 18 days of live on scene coverage of the inferno as it grew, and threatened various communities.

Because the station only has one full time newsperson, we took advantage of a system built by the station's chief engineer which allows the News Director to use his laptop and phone to cut into the broadcast signal remotely, when there is no one at the station, to anchor live field reports.  As a result, all of his coverage was live from the field.

The station provided hundreds of website and Twitter updates during the blaze, which was the most grueling event we have ever faced.  We also filed dozens of reports for NPR, other radio stations, the BBC, and even the "WeatherNation" weather channel.

This is a composite of some of the highlights of the coverage, as well as as one of the live anchored reports.