SEATTLE -- Among the hundreds of firefighters battling a big wildfire near Cle Elum are 145 Washington state prison inmates.
Olympic Corrections Center Superintendent John Aldana told KOMO Radio the inmate crews have been trained by the state Department of Natural Resources and are counted among the state's wildfire resources.
Aldana says the inmates are paid 62 cents an hour for fighting fires.
He says the inmates are accompanied by prison staff, but they don't worry much about them trying to escape. Most have only about a year-and-a-half left on their terms, and an escape conviction could add five years to their sentence.