In the News
Sep 1, 2022
Precinct Reporter News
Change Allows Hiring Firefighters with Criminal Records
After Brandon N. Smith was imprisoned for the ninth time, he found himself at a crossroads. That’s when he learned about the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) conservation campfire crews, which allows inmates to train as firefighters.
Jul 17, 2022
America Outdoors: Los Angeles: it’s a vibe
Baratunde explores his adopted hometown of Los Angeles to learn how Angelinos connect with the outdoors in their sprawling city. From kayakers saving a polluted river to urban gardens nourishing a community, and Black surfers claiming their place on the waves - even as climate change brings on the sharks - preserving access to outdoor LA is something worth fighting for.
Apr 23, 2022
Formerly incarcerated firefighters among group of new graduates from SoCal fire career program
More than two dozen new Southland wildland firefighters graduated from a special program Saturday that's helping make the difference in more ways than one.
Among the graduates were formerly incarcerated firefighters. Twenty-seven men and women graduated from the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program in Altadena.
Mar 17, 2022
American Hearth Association
Los Angeles community impact organizations receive funding to address health inequity
DALLAS, March 17, 2022 –To sustainably address the social and economic impediments to health equity, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, today announced four Los Angeles-based organizations and social enterprises focused on improving mental health, food insecurity and economic equity will receive $465,000 in grant and convertible equity funding from the Association’s Social Impact Fund.
Feb 17, 2022
Verizon Climate Resilience Prize Winners Receive $500k to Scale Climate Solutions
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., February 17, 2022 /3BL Media/ - Today, Verizon announced the three winners of its inaugural Climate Resilience Prize at the GreenBiz22 conference, awarding a prize pool of $500,000 to help scale proven, in-market solutions that are focused on mitigating the disproportionate impacts of climate change in vulnerable communities.
Feb 10, 2022
Post News Group
Bay Area Leaders Receive Prestigious 2022 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards
Each year, Irvine’s Leadership Awards recognize innovative leaders whose breakthrough solutions to critical state challenges improve lives, create opportunity, and contribute to a better California. In addition to spotlighting exemplary leaders whose work benefits the people of California, The James Irvine Foundation provides each recipient’s organization with a grant of $250,000 to support their work.
Nov 19, 2021
The Last Wildfire-Fighting Camp for Incarcerated Teens in California
Chuy Hernandez turned 18 when he was at Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC), the only remaining “fire camp” for incarcerated youth in California. He’d spent the previous six months working with the kitchen crew, until he was legally old enough to work as a wildland firefighter.
Aug 21, 2021
Western fires outpace California effort to fill inmate crews
"The Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program, also known as FFRP, is a nonprofit organization that helps the people who are currently and formerly incarcerated in California's fire camps, transition into gainful employment as firefighters once they come home," said co-founder Brandon Smith.
Sep 18, 2020
California Relies on Incarcerated Women to Fight Wildfires. Then it Abandons Them.
The state's desperate pleas for firefighters overlooks the fact that institutional barriers are preventing thousands of formerly incarcerated women and people of color with firefighting experience from working as full-time professional firefighters.
Sep 4, 2020
'Only as Valuable as What You Save the State.' Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters in California Speak Out On What Needs to Change
As California faces a devastating wildfire season, a firefighter shortage has brought renewed attention to the state’s dependence upon prison labor in battling the blazes. Now, some formerly incarcerated firefighters are calling for a review into how California values its prison firefighters.
Sep 4, 2020
From Prison Crew to Pros, the Firefighters Who Beat the Odds — And Are Giving Back
In 2012, Brandon Smith was three years into serving a prison sentence at Wasco State Prison. Smith grew up in Altadena, nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains, but says that he never really thought about firefighting.
Sep 2, 2020
Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters Are Still Fighting California’s Wildfires
California firefighters have been battling unprecedented blazes and staffing shortages this wildfire season. Before the pandemic, thousands of the state’s wildfire crews came from state prisons—incarcerated people make around $1 an hour containing fires, clearing brush, and doing other dangerous labor. But since COVID, many incarcerated firefighters have been released early.