DENVER, CO– The House Energy and Environment Committee today passed legislation that would allow former inmate wildland firefighters to join professional crews to help bolster Colorado’s wildfire response capabilities and foster opportunities for formerly incarcerated wildland firefighters. The bill passed unanimously.
“Colorado’s State Wildland Inmate Fire Team (SWIFT) has performed life-saving work to protect our communities and halt devastating wildfires in my district and all across our state,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “With passage of this bill, Colorado can hire back former SWIFT crew members so they can continue protecting us from increasingly frequent wildfires. This bill is a win-win: helping people get jobs and protecting our communities. We owe it to the firefighters to open up this important post-incarceration career pathway and to invest in firefighting teams across our state.”
HB21-012, sponsored by Representative Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, would allow the wildland fire management section in the Department of Public Safety to more easily hire former inmates with wildland firefighting experience. The bill also requires the department to develop materials to increase awareness of wildland firefighting career opportunities for Coloradans who have experience fighting fires through the inmate disaster relief program.