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Cal Fire Utilizes Prison Inmates to Help Fight Fires

Posted April 30th, 2014 @ 7:50am by KFBK News - Tim Lantz

Knowing the drought will intensify the coming fire season, Cal Fire is dipping into the state prison system to get ready.

Cal Fire is putting some prisoner-firefighters through a preparation drill today, so they're ready to work the front lines on wildfires.

"They're a very significant portion of our firefighting capabilities," Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said. 

Tolmachoff says the prisoners utilized for firefighting aren't dangerous felons.

"We don't have the high-risk offenders, generally they're lower felony charges," she said. 

Both men and women inmates are used.

This is a program that's been used by Cal Fire for decades. In the past some of the inmates have actually gone to work for Cal Fire after getting out of prison.

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