Inmate Fire Team
On January 20, 2021, nearly two dozen wildfires of varying sizes sparked across Santa Cruz County. Five engines from Ben Lomond Conservation Corp. No. 45 were dispatched to aid firefighting efforts at the Panther Ridge Fire in Boulder Creek.
The 12-member crew consisted of all inmates from the California Correctional Center in Susanville. The crew also had two Cal Fire captains.
Only inmates with a sentence of five years or less can join firefighting crews. Each undergoes four weeks of training before being dispatched to fire zones. Post-incarceration, many former inmates have gone on to be employed by Cal Fire and the United States Forest Service.