A pair of experienced Alberta firefighters will be battling blazes, answering distress calls and responding to highway collisions as they star in the second season of a popular Discovery TV series.
Albert Bahri, director of protective services and the fire chief for Yellowhead County, will join with former Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Services chief Jamie Coutts and a pair of fire chiefs from B.C. as the stars of Hellfire Heroes when it premieres next Tuesday.
“It is as real as real gets. There’s no, stop let’s do that again, kind of a thing. It doesn’t exist in our world. So everything that you see is live,” said Bahri.
While Bahri said the show may be segmented to make it appear as a show, he said the camera crews —who even took some firefighting training — were truly embedded with his teams as they responded to emergencies across the 22,000 square kilometre county.
“We respond to medical calls, motor vehicle collisions, structure fires, wildland fires, industrial fires, any emergency call that comes in,” said Bahri. “It’s a large busy area with lots of industry and you know, tourism. Lots of people are out, for sure.”
Wildfires burned throughout northern Alberta for a large portion of the summer, with some of the larger blazes forcing communities to be evacuated. The Chuckegg Creek fire evacuated thousands of people from the High Level area and destroyed close to a dozen homes in the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement.
On top of the blazes, Bahri said his teams had to also deal with flooding in the county. Yellowhead County posted notices of road closures and infrastructure damage in July.
“You’re going to see everything that all four fire departments from the show do,” said Bahri. “I know we did a lot of motor vehicle collisions and we did some fires. Slave Lake did some wildland fires and motor vehicle collisions. It’s kind of a mix.”
With the show entering its second season, Bahri said it doesn’t only serve an entertainment purpose. He said his department saw a tangible increase in people looking to become firefighters.
“Volunteerism is really declining in Canada and in the U.S. So the benefit of the show for us is that we’re trying to show people what we do and how we do it,” said Bahri. “We’re actually seeing dividends from that. People are watching the show and then coming and applying to be volunteers.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019