Inmate fire crews, such as those housed at the Sugar Pine Conservation Camp, are an essential resource for wildland firefighting agencies. They come to the job with no experience, though, and proper training can make a life-or-death difference. The largest wildland fire training in the state is taking place next week east of Red Bluff. 43 fire crews from around Northern California are participating in the “Ishi Exercises”. The crews have been preparing themselves for the evaluation to be sure they’re physically fit and acclimated for the heat. They’ll hike 4 miles into the site, construct fire lines, and deploy fire shelters in simulated emergency conditions. It’s the 33rd year of the Ishi Exercises, which will take place all next week.