Yreka, Calif. — With several agencies, and thousands of firefighters helping to put out the flames. Some people might not know many of the unsung heroes of the fire are back at base camp. The California Conservation Corps assigned around 150 Corpsmembers to assist crews.
“CCC stands for the California Conservation Corps,” said Brian Hartman, CCC Corpsmember.
Corpsmembers working the Klamathon Fire in Siskiyou County are living a similar schedule to firefighters. They sleep on the grounds, and work in the day.
“It looks like we got some people coming in now, so they’re going to take down the request number and then they’re going to get up and they’re going to hand them water, gatorade, or lunch if they need it – there’s ice in another trailer,” Hartman said.
These Corpsmembers help get lunches to the thousands of firefighters and personnel working on the Klamathon Fire.
“So here we have lunches that are separated by admin lunches, which are smaller lunches, and then line lunches which are regular and vegetarian lunches,” Hartman said.
Their services don’t end at lunches, Corpsmembers also help roll up hose straight from the fire lines.
“Make sure they all get on pallets and then they’ll pressure test all the hose,” said Eric Sifers, CCC Corpsmember.
A strenuous job, and most of the rope has poison oak.
“They saran wrap it, and take it back to supply,” said Sifers said.
Supply is another spot at base camp where you can find Corpsmembers hard at work.
“Doing documentation, keeping track of paperwork, making sure that everyone is happy and they have the gear that they need to go out and do what they need to do,” said Carson Beaven, CCC Corpsmember.
While much of the CCC’s tasks may look like grunt work, they said it’s more mental than physical.
“We spend so long together out here as a crew – that it builds the crew up, it makes them closer as a family – it builds a community within each crew and eventually all the crews together,” Hartman said.
Corpsmembers get paid minimum wage, but get a stipend at the end of their term. The work development program is only for people ages 18 to 25, and up to 27 if you’re a veteran. If you’re a California resident, and are interested in learning more about the program, you can visit their website here.