Of the nearly five thousand personnel that have bravely battled the massive 19-day-old Yosemite Rim Fire, more than 550 are California inmates.
They’re the “work horses”, cutting lines alongside the elite “hot shot” civilian crews, according to an article in National Geographic.
Sentenced for non-violent offenses, 4,100 such inmates are stationed around the state as part of a partnership with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
Without these work crews, firefighters would be scrambling to contain the blazes, especially fires of such historic size.
In return for their service, inmates are allowed to stay at a camp where they live in barracks and receive nominal pay. Some may also get up to two days cut from their sentence for every day in camp. Some embrace the goal of becoming a firefighter one day.
(WATCH the video below or READ the story from Natl Geographic)