Monday, June 3, 2019

UPDATE: Inmate Fight Breaks Out at Klamath-area Fire Camp

Posted By and on Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 9:53 PM

The California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation reports that the one staff member and three inmates treated for injuries sustained in last night’s riot at the Alder Creek Conservation Camp have been released from the hospital.

“The inmates who initiated the incident have been transported to Pelican Bay State Prison and placed in administrative segregation,” the CDCR release states. “The Office of the Inspector General was notified.”

According to CDCR, about 40 inmates were involved in the fight that broke out around 5 p.m. at the camp, which is jointly operated by Cal Fire and provides inmate firefighting crews. The cause of the riot remains under investigation.

“Multiple orders to stop fighting were given to the inmates by correctional staff,” the release states. “When they did not comply, staff used pepper spray and physical force to quell the incident.”

Several agencies, including the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol, responded the camp’s 911 call for assistance.

Read the full CDCR release at the end of the story.


At approximately 5 p.m., a request went out over the scanner for reinforcements at Alder Conservation Camp as officers worked to quell a riot with was reported to be “40 to 50” inmates involved. This incident reportedly occurred near the baseball field, according to an officer speaking from the scene over the scanner.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Savona confirmed just before 9 p.m. that there had been a riot and said that no Cal Fire staff were injured but declined to comment further.

At least three ambulances were requested over the scanner, but it isn’t clear if they were all used but at least one was, according to medical personnel speaking over the radio.

One man who lives in the Klamath area reported on social media seeing a number of official vehicles, including 10 California Highway Patrol cars, four sheriff vehicles (Probably Del Norte County though he didn’t specify), three or four park rangers, at least two “fire units” and one ambulance responding to the camp.

The camp based near Klamath provides inmate firefighting crews for the Humboldt-Del Norte Ranger unit areas. They also are known for assisting the American Cancer Society with the Relay for Life events, building toys for the Toys for Tots program and creating wood products like desks, benches, etc.

In 2018, there were over 100 inmates at the camp with a total of nine correctional staff and 14 Cal Fire staff working there. Not all are on at the same time.
At approximately 5:40 p.m., any additional personnel not yet on scene were canceled.

Lt. Waylon Hanks reached at the camp by phone call said he couldn’t answer questions, but referring inquires to a public information officer in Susanville. As it was after hours, the Redheaded Blackbelt not yet received any answers.

Read the CDCR release below:
KLAMATH – On Monday, June 3, at 5 p.m., approximately 40 inmates were involved in a riot at Alder Creek Conservation Camp which resulted in injuries to one staff member and three inmates. The cause of the riot is under investigation.

Multiple orders to stop fighting were given to the inmates by correctional staff. When they did not comply, staff used pepper spray and physical force to quell the incident. Staff called 911 and multiple outside law enforcement agencies responded to assist, including the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, the National Park Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

One CDCR staff member was struck in the head and torso during the incident and was transported to an outside hospital for treatment. He has since been released and is recovering at home. Three inmates were also transported to outside hospitals for minor injuries. All have since been treated and released.
The inmates who initiated the incident have been transported to Pelican Bay State Prison and placed in administrative segregation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

Alder Creek Conservation Camp opened in 1961 and is jointly operated by CDCR and CAL FIRE. The primary mission of the camp is to provide inmate firefighting crews for wildland fire suppression activities in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. In addition to fire suppression, inmate hand crews perform conservation and community service projects in the local area. CDCR is responsible for the selection, supervision, care and discipline of the inmates. CALFIRE maintains the camp, supervises the work of inmate fire crews, and is responsible for custody of the inmate while on their daily CALFIRE project activities. Alder Creek Conservation Camp houses approximately 100 minimum-security inmates and employs nine CDCR staff members and 14 CAL FIRE staff members.

Editor’s note: This story was first reported on the Redheaded Blackbelt and is reprinted with permission.
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Kym Kemp is the editor and publisher of the news website Redheaded Blackbelt at

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