Jamestown, CA — Baseline crews from the Sierra Conservation Center stay busy during the summer months fighting fires across the Mother Lode.
At the baseline camp in Jamestown there are five hand crews. Each is comprised of 17 inmates and one fire captain.
Interested inmates go through a series of background checks in which their files and offenses are reviewed. If they have been convicted of a crime like arson, they will not be eligible for the program.
"Once it is established that they are eligible, they will go through physical fitness training and forestry training," says Sgt. Bill Arvin, Assistant Camp Commander. "It will teach them the skills they’ll need to actually go out and fight the fires."
On days when there are no blazes to fight, the inmates stay busy with other projects.
"We’ll do a lot of projects for local schools, especially during the summer," adds Sgt. Arvin. "It helps schools keep their grounds up, remove weeds, paint buildings and do minor repairs. Our only requirement is that the requesting agency supplies all the material, and then we’ll supply the labor."
The inmates also supply labor for projects of other government agencies.
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