Is Fire Country Based on an Actual True Story?

Is Fire Country Based on an Actual True Story?
Image credit: CBS

It's certainly a hot show, but is it based on real-life heroes?

The CBS series Fire Country sees Bode Donavan (played by show co-creator Max Thieriot), released from prison early and enrolled into a conservation camp crew programme that sees ex-cons assist the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, (known as Cal Fire).

The show is a fictional drama that doesn't claim to be in any way true to life – but it is based on a genuine prisoner release programme called Cal Fire.

Thierot, who grew up in California, says seeing these conservation camp crews was 'normal, everyday life' for him as a youngster. But he came to realise that people who aren't from California 'didn't really know this was a thing.'

So, he created a show about it. But he hadn't planned to star in it himself. It was just that the more he worked on it, creating the characters and their lives, the 'more (he) became attached to it.'

And as fans have tuned in by the millions, many have asked how true to life the show is – and even if it is inspired by real events.

But the truth of the story really stops with the fact that the programme exists and aims to integrate ex-cons back into society in a way that sees them providing a public service.

In real-life, Cal Fire looks after 31 million acres of land and sees prisoners given the chance to work alongside fully-fledged firefighters to put out blazes in a state that sees an average of almost 1200 wildfires every year.

It's a programme that has been in place since the end of WWII and has seen hundreds of prisoners give back to society.

But Thieriot says Fire Country is not a procedural about the inner workings of Cal Fire. In an interview with Variety, he described it as 'a story about family dynamics and interpersonal relationships' in a world and…country (that) is still fairly divided'.

So, it's a drama that focuses on human relationships against the backdrop of a positive prisoner release programme. So, naturally, Cal Fire are delighted to see their good work being portrayed on screen, right?

Well, you'd think so. But it turns out they couldn't be less happy about it.

Cal Fire Chief Joe Tyler released a statement to say Cal Fire had no involvement in the show, labelling it 'a misrepresentation of the professional all-hazards fire department and resource protection agency that Cal Fire is.'

And Tim Edwards, president of Cal Fire's union, said they have 'spoken with our legal team' but 'cannot prevent the series from airing or using the Cal Fire name.'

Cal Fire then tried to ensure a disclaimer would be put out before every show that would clarify their position. But that too was denied.

Thieriot, though, says he had nothing but 'good intent' when creating the show.

Source: Firefighternation,