MALIBU—The Los Angeles County Fire Department has established an agreement to provide housing for inmate firefighters at the Angeles National Forest, instead of in the Malibu area as the department had previously proposed.
“The housing is for adult inmates from Camp 16,” a representative with the Los Angeles Fire Department told Canyon News. “It’s not in Malibu. They [the inmates] are in the Tujunga area, and they have been there for a couple of months now.”
Camp 16 on Mt. Gleason had been destroyed in an aggressive brush fire that killed two firefighters the previous summer. The initial proposal to provide long-term housing for the displaced inmates had sparked fury among Malibu residents who had learned that a fire station in the area was being considered as a potential replacement for the burned fire camp. Residents were concerned that housing inmates in Malibu might pose a safety threat to those in their community. However, LAFD later announced that the decision to no longer pursue the plan to construct the station in the Malibu area had been confirmed.
|Inmate fire fighters from Camp 16. Photo courtesy of Wildfire Today.|
According to the new agreement, which has been set for the following three years, approximately 90 of the prisoners will be housed at Camp Holton in the Big Tujunga Canyon.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Web site, there are 46 adult and juvenile fire camps that deploy about 200 fire crews. Inmates usually earn $1 an hour, and may earn up to two days off of their sentencing for each day they work at fighting fires. According to the Web site, adult inmates assigned to the camps are carefully screened and medically cleared. Only minimum custody inmates are allowed to participate in the Conservation Camps program. Eligibility requirements include having physical fitness and no history of serious or violent crimes.