Female Prison Inmates Putting their Lives on Line Helping Fight State’s Wildfires
For about $2 dollars a day, more than 1,600 California Department of Corrections inmates are on the fire lines today, helping CAL FIRE and local crews battle blazes across the state. A little-known fact is that among them are female inmate firefighters on the front lines fighting wildfires raging throughout California.
The primary mission of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Conservation Camp program is to provide the cooperative agencies with an able-bodied, trained workforce for fire suppression and other emergencies such as floods and earthquakes.
The program saves taxpayers millions each year.
Inmate firefighters could still be employed by CAL FIRE
It is possible for an inmate firefighter to be employed by Cal Fire, even with a felony conviction or incarceration. According to Powell, a felony conviction or incarceration does not necessarily disqualify someone for employment with CAL FIRE.
A new program was approved this year that is implementing a Firefighter Training and Certification Program for participants at the Ventura Training center, located at Ventura Conservation Camp.
“Trainees will be former offenders on parole who have recently been part of a trained firefighting workforce housed in fire camps operated by CAL FIRE and CDCR,” said Powell in an email to ABC10.
“VTC will provide advanced firefighter training, certifications and job readiness support to create a pathway for former offenders to compete for entry-level firefighting jobs with state, federal and local agencies.”
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