Washington Ridge Conservation Camp #44

Washington Ridge Conservation Camp #44 is jointly operated by CDCR and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The camp’s primary mission is to provide incarcerated hand crews to support local, state, and federal responders during emergencies like fires and floods. Hand crews also complete community service and conservation projects year-round.

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Contact Information


11425 Conservation Camp Road, Nevada City, CA 95959


(530) 265-4623

CDCR Camp Staff

  • Lt. G. Ratliff, Camp Commander
  • Sgt. J. McCloughan, Assistant Camp Commander

About Washington Ridge Conservation Camp #44

In Spring 2005, the California Youth Authority could not effectively maintain the ward (Youth Offender) population to meet the CAL FIRE mission for emergency firefighting, flood, and the day-to-day activities associated with a conservation camp. On June 1, 2005, CDCR took possession of the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp CC#44.

When not fighting fires, incarcerated firefighters perform conservation and community service projects. CAL FIRE determines conservation projects.

  • Dept. Of Water Resources (Clearing the local waterways of debris).
  • Placer County Roads (Fuel Reduction).
  • Placer County Parks (Fuel Reduction).
  • Auburn Parks and Recreation Areas (Fuel Reduction).
  • Tahoe National Parks (Fuel Reduction and Habitat improvement).
  • Yuba County Public Works (Clean up levels and waterways of debris).

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 craft, and GED and college courses. Their efforts during emergencies build a strong work ethic and a feeling of self-worth. Collectively, these activities prepare camp participants for successful integration back into their communities upon release.

For stories featuring current and former Conservation (Fire) Camp Program participants, read Inside CDCR.

Visiting can be a critical part of an incarcerated person’s rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Scheduling Visits at Conservation (Fire) Camps page.