Bautista Conservation Camp #36
The primary mission of the Bautista Conservation Camp #36 is to provide trained incarcerated hand crews to assist the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) with suppression of wildland fires, emergency flood control, and Search and Rescue. Bautista has proudly represented the camp program by responding to emergency incidents all over California.
33015 Bautista Road, Hemet, CA 92544
CDCR Camp Staff
- Lt. A. Grammatico, Camp Commander
- Sgts. W. Jones III and J. Slider, Assistant Camp Commanders
About Bautista Conservation Camp #36
Bautista Conservation Camp #36 is in the historical Bautista Canyon, the route used by the Conquistador Juan Bautista de Anza in his discovery of the Riverside and San Bernardino Valleys. It’s also the site of the original Bautista springtime exercises. Located approximately 3,000 feet in elevation, the camp experiences a medley of climatic conditions typical to its high-desert terrain. The summer is often dry and hot, while the winter is cold with an occasional snowfall in December through April. Bautista has a maximum capacity of 120 incarcerated people.
On June 27, 1990, the worst tragedy that a camp could endure hit Bautista. The California Fire, burning Southwest of Hemet in the Domenigoni Mountains, overran Bautista Conservation Camp Crew #3 and its 17 crew members. The fire was on moderate to steep slopes, in light vegetation during shifting winds and extreme temperatures. This fire resulted in the death of two Bautista crew members, Victor Ferrara and Aaron Perry, and also injured other crew members in the process.
Accordingly, a memorial was created to remember the fallen firefighters of Bautista Conservation Camp and other fallen firefighters throughout the State. “THE FIREFIGHTER” was officially dedicated in 1997.
Hand crews also perform conservation and community service projects. CAL FIRE determines conservation projects including eradication of nonnative plant species at Diamond Valley Lake and Lake Matthews and fighting the bark beetle infestation in and around the community of Idyllwild. Additionally, community projects include construction of community centers, fire stations, parks, soccer and baseball fields for Valley Wide Recreation District.
Bautista’s ongoing and completed projects also include:
- Metropolitan Water District
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife Multi Species Wildlife Preserves
- Lake Skinner
- Riverside County Parks
- San Jacinto State Parks
- Lake Hemet
- Local Fire Station improvements and maintenance
- City of Murrieta
- Soboba Indian Reservation
- Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center
Bautista’s wood shop is also in demand throughout Riverside Ranger Unit. Camp participants are also experts in making plaques, signs and distinctive logos.
Programs and Services
Just as in every CDCR prison, every conservation camp offers rehabilitative and educational services, including substance abuse programs such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA), religious programs, hobby crafts, and GED and college courses. Their efforts during emergencies build a strong work ethic and a feeling of self-worth. As a result, these activities prepare camp participants for successful integration back into their communities upon release.
In addition to leisure time activities, Bautista works with Coastline College to provide educational programs. Camp participants can also be certified in small engine repair or forklift and chainsaw operation.
For more stories featuring current and former Conservation (Fire) Camp Program participants, read Inside CDCR.
Visiting can also be a critical part of an incarcerated person’s rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Scheduling Visits at Conservation (Fire) Camps page.