Wildfire Continues to Threaten Broadcast Towers

By Andrew Gauthier 


The fire burning in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles threatens broadcast and mobile-phone towers that serve the region and may knock out service to some customers.

American Tower Corp., the second-largest U.S. operator of mobile-phone towers, said the fire is menacing seven of its sites and could shut down local television to homes that rely on antennas.

“The fires are closely approaching these sites and there’s a threat that the power grids could go out,” Michael Powell, director of investor relations for the Boston-based company.

The Station fire, which threatens more than 12,000 homes, moved toward Mount Wilson, 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of downtown. The mountain is home to dozens of mobile-phone, TV and radio transmission towers. Loss of the towers would endanger broadcasts for the estimated 12 percent of Los Angeles-area TV households that rely on over-the-air reception, said Joe Berry, a vice president with the California Broadcasters Association. More…