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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Inmate firefighters help fight California flames

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 1, there have been 5,400 fires in California, burning 91,912 acres over the course of 2014, according to Cal Fire’s Incident Information.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Conservation Camp Program (CCP) has provided inmate firefighters to aid in fighting the flames.

Since 1915, this program has aimed to provide an able and trained workforce for Cal Fire as well as help with community conservation projects.

In 2008, this program worked with the Turlock Fire Department.

Through the CDCR and Cal Fire, the Central California Women’s Facility was given the task of restoring a 1927 American LaFrance Quadruple Combination City Service Ladder Truck for the Turlock Fire Department and the City of Turlock.

For almost an entire year, six female inmates worked on and completed the restoration of the truck.

“It’s important to the city of Turlock and to the Turlock Fire as it will be used for parades, school programs, and other community functions,” said Deborah Patrick, California Corrections Women’s Facility Warden, in a press release.

“It also provided several of our inmates the opportunity to put their vocational skills into practice, increasing their odds of success for eventual re-entry into their community and future job prospects.”

These inmate fire crews are trained to respond to many different types of emergencies, which include fires, floods, search and rescue missions and earthquakes.

Cal Fire states that the CCP inmates provide about three million person-hours fighting fires and responding to emergencies along with seven million person-hours for community service projects.

During the off-season, inmates working with fire departments earn anywhere from $1.45 to $3.90 per day for community service projects.

According to Cal Fire, the CCP has 39 camps located all across California that house roughly 4,300 inmates.

Through these camps, the inmate firefighters allow Cal Fire to work 196 fire crews all year long.

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Inmate firefighters help fight California flames