California has always had a fire problem; now this problem is a constant crisis.
Among California’s solutions is an almost invisible workforce of inmate firefighters. Depending on the year, inmates make up up to 30% of forest fire crews in California, says author Jaime Lowe.
In his new book, “Breathing Fire,” Lowe takes readers to the frontlines of California wildfires through the experiences of female inmates who volunteer for intensive fire training and risk their lives to save a state in peril. .
Lowe joins the LA Times Book Club at 6:00 p.m. PT today for a chat with Times columnist Erika D. Smith. You can watch the free event live on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Register on Eventbrite.
Please share your questions in advance on Twitter @latimesbooks or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lowe says the book was inspired by a 2016 Times article about Shawna Lynn Jones, a 22-year-old inmate who was hit on the head by a falling rock while working on the fire lines in Malibu. Jones, serving a three-year sentence for probation violation after a drug offense, died just six weeks before her release date.
Over the next five years, Lowe set out to document the lives of the women in the state’s Conservation Camp program: their stories, their training, and the inequalities of a system that only paid Shawna Jones $ 2.56 a day. or $ 1 an hour to work on the fire. lines.
“Breathing Fire” is the LA Times Book Club’s September pick. In October, the newspaper’s community book club will read “The Boys” by Ron and Clint Howard, who will join the book club readers on October 15 at the rooftop terrace of LA Live. Get tickets.
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