The Elephant Hill wildfire was one of several this summer that contributed to the worst fire season ever recorded in B.C. (KTW file photo).

Inmates play vital role in managing B.C.’s worst-ever wildfire season

Prisoners from Maple Ridge, Nanaimo and Prince George helped out

As British Columbia’s worst-ever wildfire season winds down, provincial inmates are being recognized for their help in the supporting the fire-fighting effort.

The Ministry of Public Safety says inmates from four correctional centres were instrumental in helping crews on the fire lines.

Inmates from jails in Maple Ridge and Prince George managed camp inventory and took part in setting up and dismantling base camps, while a crew from the Ford Mountain facility in Chilliwack inspected, tested and repaired tools, such as axes and shovels.

VIDEO: Kestrel chicks released into wild a happy ending to wildfire season

A ministry news release says crews from Nanaimo Correctional Centre repaired, cleaned and dried thousands of fire hoses, resulting in savings amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Inmates assigned to a crew have open-custody status, which means they can be trusted to work in the community under supervision.

In addition to significant cost savings, the ministry says the programs give participants meaningful, rewarding work experience.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says eligible provincial inmates understand the program because most come from B.C. communities and will return there when released, but he says the interest was especially high this year.

“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. My thanks to both correctional centre staff and the inmate crews for their contributions during this very challenging fire season.”

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Snowfall in the Okanagan shatters records. (Contributed)
Snowfall in Okanagan breaks records dated back to 1899

Penticton has received over 10 cm today, surpassing the 8 cm record set in 1957

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal)
Candidates’ messages: Columbia River Revelstoke

The Bulletin offered each candidate in Columbia River Revelstoke space to hold forth on issues important to them and to voters.

Earth from Space.
Morning Start: It would only take one hour to drive to space

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read