Should we apply for the CDCR "inmate crews" for NRG Firewise?

I just met with the SouthBay-Firewise-Partners group to learn more about getting inmate crews to clear fire breaks and egress routes for our community. We’ll need to apply for this and the process will take some time (and work). Anyone want to join me in this application process?

We can get a crew of 15-17 inmates for just $200 per day! They will be managed by CalFire and have a great history for good work. Many of these inmates go on to become certified firefighters later.

Here is a video from the meeting:


I watched part of the video, and captured the slides. This effort could cost rather more than the $200 for supplies, because we would also have to rent a porta-potty and pay for chipping, estimated at $2,500. The hours required for sponsorship, paperwork, and permissions from property owners might be more than we could count on. Have we identified areas for shaded fuel breaks, and obtained permission to create them?

Susan, I’d be interested in helping with the application process if you go forward with it. My travel for work may make it difficult to be on-site but I figure this would be a great opportunity for me to learn about the application process for things like this, as well as learn about what other NRG folks are doing for fire breaks and home hardening.

Along similar lines, I am considering getting a Bobcat compact track loader with a masticating head. Would others in the NRG community be interested in mastication on their property? It’s similar to chipping but is mobile and you don’t end up with a pile of chips in one place - the chips end up scattered near where the plant/small tree/downed limbs used to be. We could use it for fire breaks or for reducing brush/intermediate fuels across a landscape.

Yes, Carolyn, it will cost about $2500 for the other equipment required by CalFire (porta-potty, chippers, etc).

I think Tony Akin or others at Central Fire can easity identify the areas for shaded fuel breaks and egress routes (Tony and I have discussed this over the past 2 years).

Obtaining permission from property owners will take time… I do NOT want to do that myself so I am hoping others in our NRG Firewise community can do this for us. This process will take about 6 months so if we do plan to do this, we’ll need to get it going soon.

We would love your support and help with the application process. Did you review the video from the Firewise Leaders meeting?

I am interested in your mastication equipment (if you get it) and I would think that many NRG residents would love to have access to it. The RCD gives us free chipping twice per year (4 piles that are 4’x4’x8’) but we have so much that needs to be limbed and chipped on NRG that it doesn’t even begin to cover what we need to do up here.

Thank you for your support! Email me at and we’ll see if we can get a team together for this project.