Inmate Firefighter Hospitalized During Mt. Diablo Blaze

Sacramento, CA…A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate was hospitalized yesterday due to heat exhaustion suffered while fighting the Mount Diablo wildfire.

“Because of the rough terrain, the inmate had to be airlifted by helicopter to an ambulance for transport to a local hospital for treatment,” said Lt. Lawrence Rodriguez of the Salt Creek Conservation Camp where the inmate is based.

The inmate was treated for heat exhaustion and severe dehydration. Fortunately, due to the quick reactions of the inmate fighting crew, the victim was able to recover quickly and was returned to the camp by 9:30 p.m.

CDCR has deployed nearly 450 youth and adult firefighters and department staff to help combat the wildfire burning in the Mount Diablo canyons. Another 1,215 inmates are currently battling blazes elsewhere in the state.

Since 1946, CDCR’s Conservation Camp Program has provided California with a well-trained, well-equipped work force for fire suppression. More than 4,000 male and female inmates (200 fire crews) participate in the program annually. The crews respond to nearly every type of emergency, including wildfires, floods, search-and-rescue operations and earthquakes. They also log millions of hours annually on fire-reduction and conservation projects and provide forest, range and watershed enhancement on public lands. Their work saves the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

CDCR jointly manages 38 adult and juvenile camps with CAL FIRE and five adult camps with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Only minimum-custody inmates may participate in the program. They must be physically fit and have no history of sex offenses, kidnapping, arson or escape. Offenders earn their way into camp placement and must be free of major rules infractions.