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Federal SystemFriant-Kern Canal

Dominoes from the massive Creek Fire teetering over San Joaquin Valley farmers

 •  by Lois Henry
Map of the Big Creek power system on the San Joaquin River watershed. COURTESY: Southern California Edison

When the Creek Fire erupted on Sept. 4 and chewed through the forest toward Southern California Edison’s Big Creek power system, little did anyone know how that might affect grape growers in Delano nearly a month later.

But the historic fire has put water managers along the eastern flank of the San Joaquin Valley, who depend on the Friant-Kern Canal, on alert.

That’s because Friant water comes from a series of reservoirs above Fresno that feed into Edison’s Big Creek system.

When the fire forced Edison to evacuate its workers from Big Creek, they “set the lakes to minimal releases, locked the doors and got out,” said Eric R. Quinley, General Manager of Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District.

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