California Opens Firefighter Facility in Wildfire-Prone Area

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California is reopening a long-shuttered facility for wildland firefighters as the state prepares for the summer fire season.

The California Conservation Corps facility in Butte County will house 57 corps members and a dozen supervisors from the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Ventura County already has a CCC firefighting camp. But the Butte Fire Center in Magalia closed for budget reasons in 2003.

The center 30 miles northeast of Chico will open in May.

The civilian crews cut fire breaks through trees and brush with chain saws, axes and other hand tools. They perform the same work as inmate firefighters, who are in increasingly short supply.

Cal Fire Assistant Chief Greg McFadden says the center will help protect communities in an area with a long history of destructive wildfires.

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