EL DORADO COUNTY -- With fire season fast approaching, Cal Fire spent Wednesday training 350 inmate firefighters and crews from the California Conservation Corps.
Those crews have to pass the following tests to be able to fight fires -- water shelter deployment training, a four mile hike in 70 minutes and cut at least 300 feet of terrain in one hour.
Training is physically demanding but if crews can't pass the training they won't be able to handle a real wildfire, though they rarely don't qualify because training is virtually year-round.
Hand crews are crucial to the fire fight. They go places dozers, engines and helicopters sometimes can't.
One inmate told FOX40 that being part of an inmate firefighting crew makes him feel like he's giving back to society.