CDCR-Konocti Conservation Camp #27

Custody/Security Info

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Facility Type

The collaboration between the CDCR, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), and the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LAC FIRE) operates 35 conservation camps, known as fire camps, spread across 25 counties in California. Among these, two camps are specifically designated for incarcerated women. Managed as minimum-security facilities under CDCR supervision, these camps play a crucial role in supporting various government agencies—state, local, and federal—during emergency responses to wildfires, floods, and other natural or man-made disasters. Additionally, camp crews contribute to park maintenance, assist with flood mitigation through sandbagging, and participate in reforestation projects.

Importantly, participation in the Conservation (Fire) Camp Program is entirely voluntary for incarcerated individuals. Those who choose to volunteer must meet specific eligibility criteria aimed at ensuring public safety. No one is assigned involuntarily to work in a fire camp, and individuals do not face disciplinary action for opting out of participation.

Beyond the immediate emergency response role, the program offers significant benefits and opportunities for incarcerated individuals to pursue upon release. These include access to advanced training programs and avenues for criminal record expungement. By participating in the program, formerly incarcerated individuals gain access to professional certifications in emergency response fields, creating new pathways for employment and aiding in their successful reintegration into society.

California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) ensures the health and safety of individuals who volunteer for the program by requiring nursing staff to clear them for medical concerns before participation. Additionally, volunteers must undergo the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), a standardized assessment of their physical fitness levels to handle the demands of firefighting. Once cleared, volunteers proceed to complete CAL FIRE's Firefighting Training (FFT) program, consisting of both classroom and field training conducted by CAL FIRE staff. Upon successful completion of the FFT program, participants are certified as wildland firefighters.

Partnerships with community colleges statewide offer educational opportunities, such as Columbia College's fire science certification course. This enables fire crew members to earn certificates that can be translated into college credits post-release, facilitating their continued education.

The safety of firefighting personnel, including incarcerated firefighters, is paramount. All CAL FIRE personnel undergo comprehensive training on recognizing and responding to heat-related illnesses. This includes education on hydration, nutrition, and preventive measures. Incidents of heat-related illness are taken seriously, with internal investigations conducted and findings shared with Cal OSHA to assess mitigation protocols.

Preventing heat illness is a collaborative effort between firefighters and CAL FIRE, necessitating year-round preparation. CAL FIRE provides incarcerated hand crews with training, supervision, and resources to mitigate heat-related risks and ensure their fitness and safety.

In terms of compensation, incarcerated fire crew members receive daily wages ranging from $2.90 to $5.13 paid by CDCR, with an additional $1 per hour paid by CAL FIRE during active emergencies. Crews may work 24-hour shifts during emergencies, followed by 24 hours of rest, with wages paid even during rest periods. Moreover, participants earn time credits, with most receiving 2-for-1 credits, meaning they receive two days off their sentence for every day served on a fire crew. Support staff not engaged in firefighting activities receive day-for-day credits, earning one day off their sentence for each day served.