The Invaluable Work of California’s Inmate Firefighters | The Daily Show

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  • Published: 06 November 2019
  • Inmate firefighters are a vital part of keeping California’s wildfires under control, but they aren’t paid adequately or permitted to keep firefighting post-prison. Smokey Bear weighs in on the situation.

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Comments • 2 016

  • Edmond Cristian Razmerita

    It would have been so cool if at the end of the interview with Smokey, it was Desi Lydic in the costume, and she pulls the head off, freaking Trevor out XD. Or they would "forgot" to stop rolling, and then Desi takes the head off. Missed opportunity, oh well :)

    • M3ÅN_STR3ÅK89
      M3ÅN_STR3ÅK89  1 days back

      My parents met while they were fighting fires while incarcerated. My dad was spitting game to my momz when he should have been doing back burns.

      • Ian W.
        Ian W.  2 days back

        Yes.. Thank god for expendable labor. These people finally have a use.

        • Stu Fields
          Stu Fields  2 days back

          I was on a fire where there were 25 inmates from San Quentin prison. One thing I found, it was smart for me to get out of their way. They were a professional fire fighting crew who would start walking and at a walking pace would leave a path to the ground in back of them. They had stories...Whew..... They also had some sharp knives which were very handy to cut the meat that was delivered via parachute to our fire location. Bottom line I was impressed.

          • Christian Soldier
            Christian Soldier  6 days back

            California deserves to burn.

            • Marscheesteak Andcrepes

              This guy is always making fun of everyone in our country. Why don't you get the fuck out of here if you dont like us. Fag boy

              • Hamer51
                Hamer51  7 days back

                But what about dealing with the trees the Australians sold California that keep setting themselves on fire which constantly ignite more forest fires perpetually worsening the issues

                • thublit
                  thublit  1 weeks back

                  I think he means state owned slaves or at the least indentured people. Especially in CA. the guv has run wild. The "penal" systems war on the family/drugs is absolutely evil.

                  • Jake Mcewen
                    Jake Mcewen  1 weeks back

                    Those inmates are being robbed. Federal min wage is 7.25. I think some crimes are being commited...

                    • dma69nyc
                      dma69nyc  1 weeks back

                      That's the exact same reaction I had when I first saw Smokey take the mask off. Glad it wasn't just me.

                      • KingOfGames
                        KingOfGames  1 weeks back

                        1:45 I definitely thought that guy was Bill Nye just based on the sound and cadence of his voice

                        • James Yakura
                          James Yakura  1 weeks back

                          "Wildfires. As the climate changes and the land becomes drier..."
                          Sounds dire. Perhaps we should aspire to avoid this briar, even if it means we retire some of the power we desire.

                          • Cheshire Kat
                            Cheshire Kat  1 weeks back

                            I'd say that whether or not a convicted felon should be allowed to become a firefighter, after he or she has served their sentence, depends on what crimes they committed.
                            Firefighters interact with children a lot; so I'd say that no one who has been convicted of rape, or child-molestation (or attempted rape or child-molestation), should be allowed to become a firefighter.

                            • Lup Domnitor
                              Lup Domnitor  1 weeks back

                              America was built on the foundation of discrimination.

                              • CheaterCheater
                                CheaterCheater  1 weeks back

                                Who all thought Smokey was going to take off his head and be a hot woman. Lol

                                • Altrantis
                                  Altrantis  1 weeks back

                                  Where I'm from, firefighters don't get paid anything even though they're not prisoners.

                                  • Paraplegic octopus
                                    Paraplegic octopus  1 weeks back

                                    Those Smokey ads were fire!!.... Oh, shit, wait..

                                    • doom2avatar
                                      doom2avatar  1 weeks back

                                      They can be firefighters. Not all systems have combined fire+EMT. There’s good reason to be skeptical of past criminal history for medics. There is a pile of strong narcotics sitting in ambulances and you have to trust the medics to not use or sell that.

                                      • Samantha Des Jardins
                                        Samantha Des Jardins  1 weeks back

                                        When we had the fire in Napa, people of Napa were told not to talk to inmate fire fighters nor were they allowed to take refreshments citizens brought. I heard people being yelled at for thanking them.

                                        • Michael Robertson
                                          Michael Robertson  1 weeks back

                                          Modern day slavery....its bullshit..

                                          • SillyNa Cannada
                                            SillyNa Cannada  1 weeks back

                                            There’s no profit in ex cons being legit. That’s all it boils down to. Pun intended.

                                            • Saiyan ForLife
                                              Saiyan ForLife  1 weeks back

                                              So where supposed to teach the inmates how to stand on their feet after they served their time. But when they get out and find a new passion, the people in charge say, no no choose something else, you know something that doesn't involve helping others. Screw that non sense. Being a paramedic myself, first responders are short staffed. Let them work a job that not many are willing to do.

                                              • derp herp
                                                derp herp  1 weeks back

                                                Let California burn , this is self inflicted. They made their bed, let them burn in it.

                                                • E S
                                                  E S  1 weeks back

                                                  I remember living in Marin Co CA til last Dec. Inmates from San Quentin rescued people in trouble on a small boat on SF bay in the AM one night

                                                  • orry townes
                                                    orry townes  1 weeks back

                                                    Plus Bear-Face?! Animalist!

                                                    • Larissa D
                                                      Larissa D  1 weeks back

                                                      That is some BS doing those inmates that way.

                                                      • Merrick Gould
                                                        Merrick Gould  1 weeks back

                                                        Yes from a firefighter

                                                        • Chris Pontius
                                                          Chris Pontius  1 weeks back

                                                          So America's economy is still based on slavery. What else is new?

                                                          • Dawn alexander
                                                            Dawn alexander  1 weeks back

                                                            Thank God for the inmates for being there on the front line they are true Hero's God Bless all the firefighters 🙏🙏

                                                            • Carlo Jones
                                                              Carlo Jones  1 weeks back

                                                              Make special forest firefighters unit where EMT's work not part of this job.
                                                              So some convict wouldn't be medic's , picking the pocket of heart attack patients they're treating .
                                                              Need more creative policy makers.
                                                              If some professions were not so hard to get into many people wouldn't have turned to crime.
                                                              In California you need a special certification for lots of thinks but some just to collect public money.

                                                              • Icare
                                                                Icare  1 weeks back

                                                                The prisons is a money making machine that rely on inmates to return to the system, why else would they not grant a chance or change the rules once these guys have served their time....keep your feet on their necks all the way to the bank.

                                                                • Ronny Simon
                                                                  Ronny Simon  1 weeks back

                                                                  Why dont you address the issue of arson instead of blame global warming you asshole

                                                                  • Felicia Gardner
                                                                    Felicia Gardner  1 weeks back

                                                                    As someone who live near where the carr fire was, I am so appreciative that inmates did this. I was extremely pissed when I learned avout this from a cal fire volunteer. I think they should help those that fought fires get into the program for certification if they want to. And they should get paid like anyone else to do it in jail.

                                                                    • Sade Jones
                                                                      Sade Jones  1 weeks back

                                                                      Prison = slavery

                                                                      • ike eki
                                                                        ike eki  1 weeks back

                                                                        prison labor is an abhorrent scheme that exploits people and keeps them in a subjugated state. it could be an empowering and rehabilitative approach to crime, but not on those wages and not when they are forbidden from using these life-saving skills outside prison.

                                                                        • k3rrons
                                                                          k3rrons  1 weeks back

                                                                          To punish and enslave 👌

                                                                          • aura floo
                                                                            aura floo  1 weeks back

                                                                            You know, I'm pretty sure I'm a minority in this thread but I don't get it. You feel bad for people in prison? They are in prison for a reason. You feel bad for rapists, murderers, thieves etc? Are you kidding? Can you imagine being a rape victim being told that the person who hurt you is getting off early because he was nice and kept to himself on jail? That's bullshit. What about a person who took the life of someone you love. You're NEVER getting that person back. They'll never see the next generation of the family, no weddings, no reunions no anything but yet the murderer DESERVES a better life. I'm sorry but this world is screwed up! American prison is too laid back in my opinion.

                                                                            • Aarotron 777
                                                                              Aarotron 777  1 weeks back

                                                                              @aura floo When it comes to thinking yeah unfortunately California is in a world of it's own Haha The sad part is those who are quick to defend and whine about the convicted paying there dues back to the state are silent about the treatment of law abiding citizens who are treated like trash such as military veterans.

                                                                            • aura floo
                                                                              aura floo  1 weeks back

                                                                              @Aarotron 777 It doesn't make sense! I'm reading and these ppl feel bad about prisoners in the fire crew not getting great benefits, money and better time off. Seriously?! Did they forget that these are BAD people? is California really soooo different from NYC? I mean this is polar opposite thinking.

                                                                            • Aarotron 777
                                                                              Aarotron 777  1 weeks back

                                                                              This is California, truth be told "victims" don't mean anything. We live in an age where doing wrong is rewarded & doing right you are considered a sellout or some form of evil. The media sells false narratives and people buy into it.

                                                                          • ToniHunterOne
                                                                            ToniHunterOne  1 weeks back

                                                                            I have one of the original large metal Smokey road signs!

                                                                            • ToniHunterOne
                                                                              ToniHunterOne  1 weeks back

                                                                              that is shitty!

                                                                              • Chrissyce
                                                                                Chrissyce  1 weeks back

                                                                                They should be allowed to get EMT training in prison for free while they are in the program at the very least. The laws should also be changed to allow them to be able to get a job afterwards. They can make special provisions for the inmates that fought the fires.

                                                                                • gobanito
                                                                                  gobanito  1 weeks back

                                                                                  Non-violent offenders should be allowed to become firefighters professionally after serving time as an inmate firefighter.

                                                                                  • Re dacted
                                                                                    Re dacted  2 weeks back

                                                                                    Americans have the weirdest fucking ads.

                                                                                    • tenacious645
                                                                                      tenacious645  2 weeks back

                                                                                      They also can't vote. It's bullshit.

                                                                                      • Patricia Handa
                                                                                        Patricia Handa  2 weeks back

                                                                                        I read one time that 1 in 3 young black men will spend some time in jail. Then we wonder why more aren't legally employed. 😕

                                                                                        • abbsnn cose
                                                                                          abbsnn cose  2 weeks back

                                                                                          That’s basically slavery with a loophole.

                                                                                          • N O
                                                                                            N O  2 weeks back

                                                                                            Smokey bear is an ecoterrorist. Fires like this are caused by a lack of nutrients and water due to smaller plants like shrubs that grew and weeds. This makes it so it is more common to see fires like these and more fuel is available to the fire, causing it to no longer and stronger.

                                                                                            • doliio volay
                                                                                              doliio volay  2 weeks back

                                                                                              America wants to make money off of slavery. It also wants to keep people in prison.

                                                                                          • Ray B
                                                                                            Ray B  2 weeks back

                                                                                            So are you want8ng to commute sentences? NO!!! Crimes were still committed and for the criers saying. "These pooor criminals reoffend because EMPLOYERS and THE NEIGHBORS in the NEIGHBORHOODS in which you would want these criminals to live in have the right to demand knowledge of an individuals passed....its sooooo wrong!" Screw you criers, advocates, whiners and pissbags.YOU invite convicts into your home. YOU reform them. Stop expecting so much out of Society. For society itself is made up of People...Good or Bad.

                                                                                          • Melissa Sigua
                                                                                            Melissa Sigua  2 weeks back

                                                                                            Yes they get paid little but it costs a lot to pay for them in prison, an avg of 30-40 k plus they get a sentence reduced.

                                                                                            At the same time they should be able to become fire fighters after if they wish to do so. Clearly they were good for job when in prison and should qualify after, that’s just messed up. They paid their debt!