Friday, August 21, 2015

Western states ask for civilian volunteers to fight wildfires, also use prison labor, and overseas help

For the “first time in history” Washington State is asking for civilian volunteer help from those who can operate certain equipment to fight the wildfires, according to a Fox story here
On the other hand, Natasha Geiling of ThinkProgess writes about the prison labor in California being paid $1 an hour, and says civilian “volunteers” are paid the minimum wage of $9, story here
PBS has a story about the US requesting help from Canada and Australia to fight the fires, link here.  But the story emphasizes the over-development of “exurban” living in areas where some fires normally occur as part of a regrowth cycle.

Storms later this fall or winter from El Nino may finally overcome California’s drought, with flash floods and mudslides.
Rural areas (even forty miles or less from major cities) still recruit for volunteer firefighters (I see this all the time on day trips).  Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper had once talked about serving as a volunteer firefighter.  I doubt his contract would allow that now.  But it’s still an issue that many of us have to leave the risk-taking to others. 

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