When an inmate firefighter working on the Hirz Fire near Shasta Lake suffered from “heat like symptoms,” a CHP helicopter responded to the site to rescue him. It would have taken more than an hour to get the man out on foot, but the helicopter provided a faster option. He was transported to Mercy Hospital in Redding and treated in the ER.
The CHP Northern Division Air Operations posted a video of the rescue to sociale media:
Over 3,000 inmate firefighters are currently dispatched on California fires. The program, which pays the volunteer inmates $1-$2 per day, saves the state over $100 million a year.
The firefighting jobs are given to non-violent inmates who earn a minimum-custody status through good behavior behind bars and excludes arsonists, kidnappers, sex offenders, gang affiliates, and those serving life sentences. Inmates must also meet demanding physical standards to get the gig.
The Hirz Fire has currently burned 17,467 acres north of Shasta Lake and sits at 17 percent containment.