Ten inmates from the Powder River Correctional Facility in Baker City are working at the base camp for firefighters working on a 500-acre blaze in the Ochoco Mountains northeast of Prineville.
The inmates, along with two corrections officers, left the minimum-security prison in Baker City about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday to travel to the Box Springs fire, said Lisa Jaensch, administrative services manager at Powder River.
The Powder River crew probably will be stationed at the fire camp for at least five days, she said.
This is the first summer in almost a decade in which Powder River inmates are available to help fight wildfires.
Thirty inmates have been trained. They are divided into three crews: one support crew (the group assigned to the Box Springs fire); one crew that can actually fight fires; and a third crew that can do either job.
The support crew's assignment is the first of the year, Jaensch said.