The inmate Wildland Fire Crew housed at the state prison complex in Florence is being lauded for their efforts earlier this summer to help prevent a large-scale fire disaster in the community of Oracle, north of Tucson.
In a letter sent to Corrections Director Charles Ryan, Oracle Fire Chief Larry Southard described a June 12 incident in which an oily cloth placed on a pole in a homeowner’s yard combusted, causing damage to several homes, including one that burned to the ground.
Chief Southard stated, “It was the quick response of many agencies that kept the fire from destroying Oracle. One of the groups that responded was the inmate Wildland Fire Crew from the Arizona State Prison (Complex) – Florence.
We know that wild fires can occur in Oracle anytime. However, after experiencing the fire on June 12, we are reminded that without the work the inmate Wildland Fire Crew has done in the past and continues to do in our community, we would be much more susceptible. The community of Oracle, the local Firewise Board and I are very grateful for your continued support.”
The Arizona Department of Corrections has 10 inmate Wildland Fire Crews housed at prison complexes statewide. A typical crew consists of between 15 and 20 minimum security inmates who are convicted of non-violent offenses and are supervised by ADC personnel.