‘Fire Country’: Cal Fire Says CBS’s Newest Show is a ‘Misrepresentation’ of Its Inmate Firefighter Program

by Shelby Scott

NBC’s Chicago Fire reigns supreme as TV‘s number one firefighter-centric program. However, this fall, CBS hopes to challenge its success with a brand new first responder series of its own. May saw the conclusion of some of our favorite network dramas, including Blue Bloods, NCIS, and FBI. But, when we kick off the 2022-2023 season in September, CBS added to its lineup the new drama, Fire Country. Fire Country centers around a group of California inmates-turned-firefighters and is based on the state’s real-life program. Now, months before the show takes to the air, Fire Country is already facing backlash. A recent report states Cal Fire believes the new series is a “misrepresentation” of their values and practices.

Generically, ABC10 reports Fire Country details the stories of a group of inmates that help fight wildfires in Northern California alongside Cal Fire. That much of the depiction is true. Although, Cal Fire argues a lot of the rest of the storyline is not.

In a statement addressing CBS’s newest drama, Chief Joe Tyler said, “This television series is a misrepresentation of all-hazards fire department and resource protection agency that Cal Fire is.”

As per the outlet, the department’s biggest issue lies in a scene amid the Fire Country trailer that depicts an inmate fighting with a Cal Fire fireman.

Tyler continued, “The dramatization of inmate firefighters fighting members of Cal Fire is a poor reflection of the value of our Camps Program and the incredible work and leadership of our Fire Captains who supervise our hand crews.”

Cal Fire Wants to ‘Reach Agreement’ with CBS and ‘Fire Country’

After seeing the trailer for Fire Country, Cal Fire attempted to take legal action. Unfortunately, though, the news outlet states Union Local 2881 was unsuccessful in having the show pulled. Instead, Cal Fire’s legal team is working with CBS and Fire Country‘s producers to try and reach an agreement.

Ideally, the Northern California fire department is hoping to instate disclaimers at the beginning and end of each episode. Every disclaimer would emphasize that Cal Fire does not endorse or take part in the new show’s creation.

“Our trademark attorneys are drafting a letter to CBS and the producers of the show,” revealed Cal Fire Union Local 2881 President Tim Edwards. He said, “We are hoping to have a disclaimer added to the beginning and end of each episode stating that we had no part in creating this series and do not support the representation of our department in the show.”

Fire Country is set to air on CBS this fall. The new show occupies the dynamic timeslot between the hit cop drama Blue Bloods and the adrenaline-pumping series FBI. The all-new show stars SEAL Team actor Max Thieriot. As per the outlet, Thieriot plays a convict who works to redeem himself through Cal Fire’s inmate program.