Arizona prison labor team begins wildfire prevention project

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Monday, April 4, 2022 - 8:32am
Updated: Monday, April 4, 2022 - 9:34am

Telegraph Fire
The smoke plume of the Telegraph Fire, which burned more than 180,000 acres in 2021.

Arizona’s inaugural Healthy Forest Initiative crew begins work on Monday. The initiative, which was passed last year, created a prison labor team to clean up dry foliage that may spark wildfires.

“Aside from learning new job skills, this is also gonna provide second chances for inmates while they are incarcerated to learn new job skills, and then also find successful employment upon release,” said Judy Keene is with the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Keene says the program is voluntary, with a two-week training period.

Arizona prisoners also make up a portion of the state’s firefighting force, reportedly making less than $2 an hour fighting wildfires during the summer months.

→ Arizona wants to use more inmates as wildland firefighters — but at what cost to the prisoners?

Politics Arizona Prisons Wildfires