A new form of slavery? Meet incarcerated firefighters battling California’s wildfires for $1 an hour

We go behind the scenes of California’s raging climate-fueled wildfires with the hidden men and women on the front lines of the state’s ever-growing fire season: prisoner firefighters. Of the 13,000 firefighters battling blazes across the state, more than 2,500 are prisoners. While salaried firefighters earn an annual mean wage of $74,000 a year plus benefits, prisoners earn $1 per hour when fighting active fires. According to some estimates, California saves up to $100 million a year by using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem. The Democracy Now! team traveled on Sunday to the Delta Conservation Camp, a low-security prison about an hour north of San Francisco where more than 100 men are imprisoned. We interviewed incarcerated firefighters who had just returned from a 24-hour shift fighting the Snell Fire in Napa County.

This report is from democracynow.org. Read the full transcript here.

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