No joke – I can’t believe this story hasn’t already been greenlit as a film starring Mark Ruffalo, Nic Cage, and at least four actors from HBO’s Game of Thrones.
California is using thousands of inmates to fight forest fires. Like, training them up, giving them axes, and sending them into the woods to do battle with the flames.
Here are aÂ few awesome quotes from the article:
These offenders have been convicted of things like drug crimes, minor battery or robbery. They’re trained by a professional and often work in crews of 16 â€” always with a professional firefighter in charge, like Capt. Josh Kitchens. Kitchens, who runs Dunn’s crew, looks straight out of central casting: tall, with a chiseled jaw and the stare of someone who doesn’t play around.
“These guys are some workhorses. When it’s time to do a lot of grunt labor, that’s what we’re good at. Get a lot of stuff done with 16 bodies,” Kitchens says.
Corrections guards dropped off the inmates miles away; the team then hiked in. So basically, Kitchens is alone with inmates who have axes and chainsaws â€” in the middle of the forest that happens to be on fire, often working 24-hour shifts. But he’s not worried.
“It’s just like working with any other group of guys,” he says. “You kind of get to know their personalities and what they’re capable of, and you put them in positions most suited for them.”
The inmates earn $2 a day fighting fires, and get two days off of their sentences for every day they are out here. When they’re not battling the flames, they build flood barriers or clean up parks. In those cases, they get a one-day reduction for a day of work.
The inmates will spend nearly all of their sentences in a fire camp, where they stay in barracks-style sleeping quarters. When on a fire, they’ll move to a base camp, where on-site warehouses and large white tents house the prisoners.
The story almost writes itself!
But what type of story would it be?
The obvious answer isÂ Action/Adventure. One of the inmates has a plan to escape. But when the group is cornered by a blazing inferno, he must decide whether to save his fellow prisoners or follow through with his plan for freedom.
But it could be a twisted Romance . A woman loves a prisoner so much she starts a forest fire so she can see him on the outside.
Or Science Fiction. Or Horror. In the still-warm embers of a recently extingished forest fire, a group of inmates find an artifact that has been buried for centuries.
Stories are everywhere, people! All we have to do is decide which ones to tell.