Incarcerated firefighters making $1 an hour are on the frontlines of California’s wildfires

The death toll has climbed to at least seven as wildfires fueled by the climate crisis continue to rage across California. Tens of thousands of firefighters have been deployed in an attempt to contain what are some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in the state’s history. Among those being deployed to combat the blazes are incarcerated firefighters from the California state prison system, who are working for a mere $1 an hour while prisons are overwhelmed by the spread of COVID-19. Rasheed Lockheart, former incarcerated firefighter and re-entry coordinator for Planting Justice, describes the overlapping outbreaks as a “human tragedy.” “They’re battling COVID-19 and they are battling wildfires at the same time.”

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