Thumbs up: A career path for inmate firefighters

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Subscribe

In the fight against a wildfire, prison inmates perform some of the most physically demanding front-line work. They clear brush and trees with hand tools, often working in steep terrain, to help cut breaks to stop fires from spreading. At times, they’re asked to work 24-hour shifts. And they get paid $2 a day, plus $1 an hour for time spent on the fire lines. After last fall’s North Bay fires, we started hearing from readers wanting to know why more of these volunteers don’t get opportunities to use their training after being released from prison.

We heard a variety of reasons from officialdom, including the differences between the duties of hand crew members and people with so-called Firefighter 1 classifications from training academies. The Sacramento Bee reports that the state is starting a program that might help some inmates find firefighting work on the outside. Up to 80 newly released parolees will receive Firefighter 1 training at an 18-month camp scheduled to open next month in Ventura County. Cal Fire, the California Conservation Corps and the state correction department are running the program. Thumbs up.

You can send a letter to the editor at letters@pressdemocrat.com

Show Comment

Our Network

Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine