ANZA, Calif. - Seventeen inmate hand crews are training this week in a remote area near Anza as California's wildfire season approaches.
There are several drills. If they don't pass, they don't get to be on the crew.
Inmate firefighter Gary Thompson said the hardest part of the training was the hour-long hike up steep terrain.
"From the bottom it doesn't seem that bad, but as soon as you get started and you get up there it's pretty tough," Thompson said.
After the hike, inmates cut fire lines for an hour and a half. Each one is four feet wide. The fastest crew cut a line for almost a quarter-mile.
Despite recent record rains in California, Cal Fire is expecting an active fire season that could be worse than 2016.
The ground may not be as dry, but there is more brush to burn, according to Cal Fire Division Chief Silvio Lanzas.
"There really is no perfect recipe for how we want it," Lanzas said of the conditions. "The best thing is for the public to be aware for the potential for a wildfire and to give us the defensible space to protect it."