Authorities search for escaped inmate firefighter

Walked away from Canyon Fire 2 assignment

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. - Authorities are searching for a prisoner suspected of walking away from an inmate firefighting crew helping to battle the Canyon Fire 2 near Peters Canyon Regional Park in Orange.

Armando Castillo, 31, was last seen at 4:45 p.m. Sunday before the group of inmates to which he was assigned returned to Prado Conservation Camp in San Bernardino County, according to Krissi Khokhobashvili of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Castillo was serving a five-year sentence in a Yucaipa conservation camp for possession of a firearm and evading police while driving recklessly. 

Castillo, who was convicted in Los Angeles County and was sent to prison on Aug. 23 of last year, was due to be released and placed on probation next May, according to Khokhobashvili.

Inmates like Castillo earn $1 an hour for fighting fires and get two days for credit for time served for each day they battle a blaze.

Castillo is 5-foot-11 and weighs about 190 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair.

Anyone who sees the inmate should dial 911, or call authorities at (209) 984-5291, ext. 5439, or (909) 797-0196 to provide information on his whereabouts.

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