Despite a Wet Month, Inmate Wildfire Crews Will Expand in Washington

The state is training an additional 20 prison inmates to potentially respond to wildfires.
July 24, 2019 AT 8:30 AM

By Drew Mikkelsen

Despite a wet July, the state is preparing for a busy late summer, and perhaps early fall wildfire season.

As a result, the state is training an additional 20 prison inmates to potentially respond to wildfires.

“The work these guys do is absolutely phenomenal,” said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Crew Supervisor Bob Lund.

Lund has worked with inmates for the past 10 years. He said they work hard and rarely act out.

“They actually have a lot to lose,” Lund said. “We could potentially put five years on their sentences, no problem.”

Also see | Wildfire risk expected to rise after Washington 'blessed' by cool, wet July

To qualify, an inmate must have less than four years remaining on their sentence. They must have a record of good behavior and cannot have prior arson convictions.

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