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Why Fire Country's Max Thieriot Is A Real-Life Hero

Given the real-life heroics of firefighters, it's no surprise that the profession has become popular TV fodder, with shows like "Station 19" and "Chicago Fire" racking up devoted viewerships. CBS' "Fire Country" brings the action to Northern California, where wildfires are a scourge.

It's something Max Thieriot was deeply familiar with growing up in the region, and part of his reason for creating "Fire Country." He also stars as Bode Donovan, an inmate who's part of a prison release firefighting program. "Because of growing up in Northern California, it was normal, everyday life for me, seeing conservation camp crews work alongside the highway and on the fire lines driving around," Thieriot told Variety. "Then I realized folks that aren't from up there, specifically, didn't really know this was a thing a few years ago."

Thieriot partly created "Fire Country" to highlight and humanize firefighters, and that mission extends beyond his own show. In an episode of the CBS reality series "Secret Celebrity Renovation," Thieriot aided in the renovation of a firefighter's home. "They have their own struggles, and it's not always easy," the actor told CBS News. "A lot of times they take that home. So yeah, I think it's really important that we shed light on all of those things and we recognize them for what they do – what they do for our communities, what they do for all of us."

Thieriot wanted to do something for his firefighter friend

On CBS' "Secret Celebrity Renovation," celebrities give meaningful people in their lives surprise home makeovers. The series has featured Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Shaquille O'Neal, and J.B. Smoove, among others. For Max Thieriot's Season 3 episode, he was able to help out a childhood friend while also giving a nod to the firefighter community.

"Josh is a firefighter," Thieriot explained in the same CBS News segment. "He's been a firefighter ... for probably 20 years." Josh, he continued, was a full-time firefighter for Cal Fire — otherwise known as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection — the program that inspired Thieriot to write "Fire Country."

Josh also worked on helicopters as part of Cal Fire's helitack unit, which Thieriot described as "the really, really cool, epic unit that everybody wants to be on." The actor continued, "Unfortunately he got injured [fighting] a wildfire."

Thierot's good deed pales in comparison to the heroics of those who extinguish and prevent wildfires, and he joked that his renovation skills met the bare minimum. "I'm handy," he said, conceding that his finishing work left something to be desired. Still, it's a productive use of time in between seasons of his show. "Fire Country" was renewed for Season 2 in January.