Inmate crews to help battle possible flooding |

Inmate crews to help battle possible flooding

Prison and forestry officials have relocated 11 inmate fire crews to Stewart Conservation Camp in Carson City to help battle potential flooding in western Nevada.

The decision was made as weather officials warned of potential flooding along the Truckee and Carson Rivers if warmer weather and rain return to western Nevada this weekend.

According to the National Weather Service as of Friday afternoon, the Carson River could crest Monday afternoon at more than 11.5 feet. That’s well above the river’s 10-foot flood stage.

Weather Service officials say the Truckee could reach 7.1 feet midday Monday, Flood stage on the Truckee is 4.5 feet.

“This is exactly the type of situation we train and prepare for at the camps,” said Corrections Director James Dzurenda. “The inmate workers are a great resource and helping during times of emergency enables them to give back in a big way.”

Each of the crews consists of 24 minimum security inmates, a total of 260 inmates. They were brought in from Tonopah, Ely and Three Lakes Valley to augment the Stewart camps existing crews.

They’ll be filling and placing sandbags and will be on call for any emergency response to help with flood control. They’ll be available not only in Carson City and the Reno-Sparks area but could be deployed as far south as Bridgeport or north to Susanville if needed.

The Department of Corrections operates nine conservation camps in conjunction with the Division of Forestry. They not only fight wildland fires but assist with snow removal, weed abatement, general clean-up jobs and other community needs.

NDF officials say the camps have averaged 460,000 hours a year on emergency incidents.