Firefighters finally feel like they have made good progress battling California’s largest-ever wildfire, but still do not to have it under control until September, writes The Associated Press. The blaze north of San Francisco has grown to the size of Los Angeles since it started two weeks ago. It has been fueled by dry vegetation, high winds and rugged terrain that makes it hard for firefighters to directly attack the flames.
The crews fighting the fire consist of about 14,000 people, including inmates and firefighters from overseas. They have managed to cut lines around half the fire to contain the flames, AP reports. The blaze has destroyed 116 homes and injured two firefighters. Cal Fire trains minimum-security inmates and pays them $1 an hour in the field and $2 a day when they’re not on duty. Typically, inmate firefighters can also have their sentences reduced for every day spent fighting fires.
The inmates do similar jobs and work to any firefighter, such as using chain saws and hand tools to reduce tinder-dry brush and trees to stop the flames. They work long hours and sleep in camps with other inmates.
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