Cuesta Conservation Camp #24

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Contact Info

635 N. Santa Rosa Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(805) 547-7971

Camp Staff (CDCR)

Camp Commander: Lt. T. Eilers

Current staffing at Camp consists of a Division Chief, 13 Fire Crew Captains, and a Heavy Equipment Mechanic. When fully staffed, the number of fire crew-eligible inmates assigned to Camp constitutes the 6 fire crews at 17 fire fighters each. Each fire crew is trained and supervised by an experienced and competent fire captain. Additional inmates staff in-camp positions that include a mixture of reserve fire fighters and non-fire fighter camp support personnel. These men work in the camp shops and/or perform maintenance, and clerical services.

Additional staffing located at Camp includes an office manager (Office Technician) and two Heavy Fire Equipment Operators who staff a fire-fighting bulldozer and transport unit as well as assist with vehicle maintenance and repair.

2020 Camp Statistics

CDCR Staff: 11

Total number of inmates: 70

Total inmate capacity: 100

Current Camp Projects

Morro Bay State Park – Pitch Canker has affected about 900 trees in the native Monterey pine forest and adjoining golf course. Cuesta crews fell the trees and burn or chip the slash. This project provides fuel reduction and improves the health of the forest.

Hearst Castle State Park – Fire Crews assist with reducing the wildland fuels in an around this unique tourist attraction by removing excess flammable vegetation and then chipping or burning the slash.

Fire Safe and Vegetation Management – Cuesta crews chip excess vegetation in communities that no longer allow open dooryard burning. Crews also construct fuel breaks and remove vegetation around structures. Cuesta crews are heavily involved in vegetation management projects in and around the community of Cambria. They are creating a series of fuel breaks to protect the community from wildland fires.

Community service projects

In addition to emergency services, Cuesta Camp provides many services to several state, local, quasi-governmental, and non-public agencies and organizations. These services include fire defense improvements such as brush clearing and vegetation management burns Flood defense preparations include sand bagging, repairing levees, and flood channel clearing.

Crews also provide fence repair, and hazard tree removal from state parks. Although the work priority for fire crews revolve around wildland fuel and hazard reduction, general cleanup and labor services are provided to public agencies needing a larger labor pool than they are able to produce internally. Trail maintenance, clearing flood channels, providing fire wood to campgrounds, and labor services to the California National Guard are examples of these services. A recent project involved repairing and re-roofing several buildings housing the State’s museum for the original Civilian Conservation Corps. Of special note is a current project involving the reconstruction of a mission-era Chumash Indian village on the grounds of the La Purisima Mission State Park. This project also included the reconstruction of the canal system that served the original Mission. Cuesta crews recently installed a handicap accessible boardwalk at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational Area.

Camp History

Cuesta Conservation Camp is a 100-man institution-based inmate fire-fighting camp located on property leased from the California National Guard at Camp San Luis Obispo. Cuesta Conservation Camp (CC 24) was formally activated on May 1, 1962 as CAL FIRE’s 24th conservation camp. Cuesta Camp is located approximately six miles west of San Luis Obispo on State Highway 1.

Inmate Training

Cuesta Camp trains its own inmate crewmembers to become competent firefighters. The camp’s training captain gives the 67-hour firefighter course. The safe use of mechanized power tools such as chain saws, weed whackers, and chippers, is also provided to every inmate fire fighter. . The local CAL FIRE Training Bureau often uses the Camp’s classroom as an additional training site.

Cuesta Camp’s training captain also coordinates the annual crew preparedness exercise for each fire crew at Cuesta Camp. Camp personnel are fortunate to have a wide variety of areas for hiking, cutting, and felling. Areas of thick coastal brush provide excellent training for fireline construction and the elimination of diseased pines on State Parks property provides critical tree-falling practice.