A team of provincial inmates provided vital support to those serving on the front lines this wildfire season.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said Tuesday throughout the recent provincial state of emergency, a longstanding partnership with the BC Wildfire Service saw inmate crews, under the supervision of BC Corrections staff, ramp up their efforts to help fire crews.
“Most provincial inmates hail from B.C. communities and will return home at some point in the future,” said Minister Mike Farnsworth. “In the meantime, even more inmates than in past years rose to the challenge and gave all they could to help British Columbians during the provincial state of emergency.”
Some of the duties that inmates assisted with included setting up and taking down firefighting base camps, assisting with inventory of camp-related equipment and supplies, and maintaining base camp equipment and facilities.
The BC Corrections fire suppression program which operates out of four correctional centers-the Fraser Regional, Prince George, Ford Mountain, and Nanaimo, is believed to have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and staff resources while providing participants with meaningful, rewarding, work experience.
“For me, this wasn’t just about making time pass. We got that it was important to a lot of people out there working the fire lines, so that really motivated us to get it done right. Some of the guys even showed up on their days off. Keeping up my work ethic will help when I get out,” said an inmate participant.