Firefighters cross scorched terrain in the Padres National Forest. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)
Some were bank robbers, car thieves and burglars. Now they are on the front lines in the scary and dangerous job of saving California from raging wildfires. There are about 3,900 of them, all state prison inmate volunteers from 44 fire camps spread across California.
A drone and its master. (Photo: Ahturner)
Efforts to contain a July 12 brush fire in San Bernardino County were delayed for eight crucial minutes after response crews spotted a hobbyist’s drone flying close to the fire area. The drone, which US Forest Service officials suspect may have been recording footage of the fire, eventually flew off, allowing grounded air crews to resume. For firefighters, those lost minutes can be devastating as they try to contain a wildfire.