Convicts join forces with CO firefighters to battle Fowler River Fire

Fowler River Fire_9817

OTERO COUNTY, Colo. — Since Wednesday, the Fowler River Fire has come to 100% containment after burning an estimated 130 acres. Many of the men working to fight the fire are current inmates.

The fire was sparked Wednesday evening along the Arkansas River in Otero County.

Officials believe it began with a controlled burn on Tuesday. A fire the burners thought they had put out.

Winds shifted and the fire spread to the south side of the river. The fire then began to migrate north.

What many don’t know, 20 of approximately 30 people fighting the fire were inmates.

“They are trained while they are inmates in the Department of Corrections, and actually they are very well trained,” John SMokey Kurtz, Sheriff of Crowley County. “I’ve worked with those gentleman in the past.”

These convicts have traded in their cells for the the great outdoors, fighting fires like the one on the Arkansas River. It’s a service that’s not just beneficial for the community.

“When they do get out on parole, this will look good on their resume instead of something negative,” said Kurtz. “Any agency that’s looking for those guys, they’ve been at it any length of time at all, they’re very qualified to do the job.”

The inmates get to work hand in hand with firefighters, and with full containment, their hard work has paid off.

Officials said they are hoping for more moisture to roll in.

They expect to monitor the area for at least another 48 hours.

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