Polis signs bill to expand opportunities for inmates with wildfire experience
Gov. Jared Polis last week signed Senate Bill 21-012, a measure designed to create more opportunities for formerly incarcerated people with firefighting experience from the state’s wildland inmate fire team.
Introduced by Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) and Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail), the bill requires the state’s division of fire prevention and control to increase awareness of wildland fire career opportunities for people who acquire wildland fire services experience through the inmate program.
It also requires the division to develop and implement a peer mentor program for persons hired who acquired experience in wildland fire services through the inmate program, to help them develop and sustain professional skills.
“Our communities are safer because of the dangerous work done each fire season by Colorado’s State Wildland Inmate Fire Team,” Roberts said in a news release. “This law will allow Colorado to hire experienced wildland firefighters so they can continue protecting our communities from ever more dangerous and destructive fires. It’s a win-win situation for Colorado; it creates jobs and helps us combat wildfires.”