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

Just Posted

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at Delta farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

Medieval holiday concert, Winter Harp, returns to Chilliwack Cultural Centre Stage

Magical backdrops of cathedrals and wisps of snow set the stage for Winter Harp, a wondrous concert experience set to capture the joy and spirit of the holiday season.

It’s more than Hope that makes the community great

Warm-hearted and fascinating people made reporter’s brief stay in Hope one he’ll never forget

Muddy water has Hope resident seeking a remedy

No one sure of cause, but solution needed

Christmas at Hope’s food bank a busy time for volunteers

Volunteers and love make the difference

VIDEO: A fun day with Santa in Hope

The jolly old elf paid an extended visit to local children

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

Legacy of Amanda Todd lives on through B.C. foundation

Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

BC Lions part ways with three coaches

These are the first personnel moves made by new general manager Ed Hervey

Most Read