The ‘Brittle’ System of Incarcerated Firefighters

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A crew of inmate firefighters make their way to firefighting operations to battle the Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, California on October 26, 2019. - US officials on October 26 ordered about 50,000 people to evacuate parts of the San Francisco Bay area in California as hot dry winds are forecast to fan raging wildfires.  (Philip Pacheco / AFP via Getty Images)

California is low on firefighters at a really bad time. It’s partially because the state released thousands of incarcerated firefighters to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But it’s also because this system of relying on incarcerated people to help fight fires — which we’ve had since after World War II — isn’t sustainable.

Guest: Kevin Stark, KQED science reporter

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