Filling the various fire camps will be a top priority of the new Warden at Sierra Conservation Center.
As reported first last week, Heidi Lackner has been appointed to the top position at the state prison outside of Jamestown. “The huge challenge we have right now is trying to fill our camp beds to sustain our fire camp operation,” she says. “We currently have 280 empty camp beds, and our camps run from Placer County all the way down to the Southern California border. We’re working hard as a team to get inmate firefighters classified, and trained, to be out in our camps.”
Besides firefighting, the crews help communities across the state with flood control and weed abatement projects.
A big challenge has been finding eligible inmates for the fire camps with the implementation of AB 109. Several lower level offenders are now serving out time at the county level. The CDCR recently implemented changes allowing for around 6000 additional inmates to be eligible for the fire camps.
Lackner replaced outgoing Warden Frank Chavez. Her background includes being a Correctional Administrator at Mule Creek State Prison from 2004 to 2011, and at Folsom State Prison from 1998 to 2004. Early in her career she was a labor relations specialists and staff services manager with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation headquarters.