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In California's fire fights, partnerships soften blow of prison realignment




Fri., July 22, 2016: An image of the Sand Fire oriented toward Highway 14 northbound. Photographer Mo Sabawi lives in Canyon Country, about 10 minutes away from Sand Canyon.
Fri., July 22, 2016: An image of the Sand Fire oriented toward Highway 14 northbound. Photographer Mo Sabawi lives in Canyon Country, about 10 minutes away from Sand Canyon.
Photograph by Mo Sabawi - @MoBawi24

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Summertime in California means extra trips to the beach, or maybe relaxing poolside with a good book. But there's no break if you're a firefighter. Multiple fires are burning across the state at the moment, according to KPCC's Fire Tracker, and this map from CalFire.

Extra fire fighting help traditionally comes from inmates. But recent changes in prison realignment raised concerns that inmates might not be available to back up firefighters.

Janet Upton, deputy director of communications at CalFire, said there was concern that when prison realignment took effect, fire crews could be impacted by about 50 percent. But right now, crew strength is at 85 percent. 

"The good news is we didn't see the impact of what we thought might be an unintended consequence," she said. "Through a lot of great cooperative work with other state partners, we're minimizing that impact." 

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.