What Next

On the Front Lines of California’s Wildfires

The state is relying on incarcerated women to face down an existential threat.

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Episode Notes

The fires raging across the American West are like the climate crisis itself: Too big and too extreme to understand all at once. So today, we’re zooming in on some of the people fighting those fires: crews of incarcerated women. In California, they risk their lives for abysmal pay, and officials are just starting to realize how essential they are to the state’s fire response.

Guest: Jaime Lowe, author of Breathing Fire

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Davis Land, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.

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About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.

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