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

Executive chef hosts National Honey Bee Day in Langford

The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and spa lost all of their honey bees last year

UPDATED: Materials linked to 1992 Colwood murder found at construction site in Metchosin

West Shore RCMP investigating to determine if relevant to the old case

PHOTOS: Tour de Victoria takes off

1,800 cyclists took off in the Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria for a city-wide loop

First responders, police march in funeral procession for Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

VIDEO: Fires break out in scrap piles at mill on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo firefighters got blazes under control in early morning hours Saturday at Harmac Pacific

Most Read