SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state expects to have nearly as many inmates available to help during this year’s firefighting season as it did before a two-year-old law began sending lower-level felons to county jails instead of state prisons.

Corrections department spokeswoman Dana Simas said Wednesday that 3,820 inmates are now training in the state’s 44 fire camps.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors this week approved sending up to 200 of its county inmates to the state-run camps as an alternative to keeping them in jail. The contract will cost the county $46 a day per inmate.

That would boost the camp population to more than 4,000 inmate firefighters, about the same as before the law enforcement realignment law took effect.

Officials had feared a greater loss in firefighters because of the shift.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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