Six crews were sent from several prisons and the Nevada Division of Forestry to fight the Thomas fire in Ventura, California, according to Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast.
“We wish that it never happened, but we’re happy to be here (to help),” Keast said.
A total of 126 inmates 105 men and 21 women — were deployed. The inmates have trained at conservation camps, where they learned to battle fires, remove snow and assist with community efforts, Keast said in a release.
She said the last time crews were deployed to help with an environmental emergency was earlier this year when northern Nevada struggled with excessive flooding.
The minimum-security inmates are housed at Three Lakes Valley Conservation Camp outside of Las Vegas and Stewart Conservation Camp outside Carson City, as well as camps in Pioche, Ely and Jean.
“Our hearts go out to those who are affected by the fires in California,” corrections director James Dzurenda said in a statement. “Our camp officers and inmate firefighters are trained and prepared for this type of deployment. We are here to help.”
Keast said the corrections department is prepared to send more inmates, if necessary.