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Meet the women and men who risk their lives to save our homes, forests and animals.
2016 will be recorded as the hottest and driest summer in southern Europe. Consequence: a record breaking 6,000 hectares of forest have burned, mostly accidentally, at times deliberately.
While naturally occurring forest fires cannot be prevented, their consequences can be minimised by implementing mitigation strategies and reducing the potential impact to the areas that are most vulnerable. In Provence, in Southern France, the infamous “Mistral” wind makes these fires difficult to control, constantly blowing the flames towards fresh fuel. The fires are fought by trained volunteer firefighters and emergency service personnel who have access to appropriate equipment - including hi-tech gizmos such as drones and infrared cameras. Today, helicopters and light aircraft use these cameras to observe fires, even through the smoke. They can help to:
- determine the direction the fire may take
- decide where to make firebreaks
- locate nearby homes, businesses, other buildings and livestock.
All of these observations allow the French Emergency Command Center (SDIS) to better understand the fire and devise useful plans for evacuation. Water planes are used to control and extinguish spot fires (small fires which jump ahead of the main fire front) by water bombing. But what causes these fires? Are they intentional or accidental? A special research unit investigates using some of the same forensic tools and techniques as CSI.
Meet the women and men who risk their lives to save our homes, forests and animals. These strong, charismatic characters are fearless and outspoken; they are not actors but are filmed on the run, fly-on-the-wall, naturally. Though they are all focused on their mission they are also true originals; they interact, yell and joke. To give a broad image of Fire Rescue Frogs in action, we have chosen a representative panel. Through the eyes of these “fire soldiers”, we see the war against the raging flames from different angles – at high altitude from planes, at low-altitude using drones and from the ground alongside the firemen or firewomen. A broad variety of secondary characters appear in each episode: from the geeks who design innovative equipment to rescue divers, mountain climbers or foreign brigades - they give a sense of reality and broad spectrum to the artillery involved in the war against fire.
Story lines and narration
The series portrays the real life events during the fight against wild fires that occur every summer in Southern France. The episodes will have no on-camera host but a narrator provides commentary connecting the storylines as the show shifts from one vehicle (plane or truck) to another, using a mock-up radar screen that shows their position relative to the wild fire.
The series is shot with an array of 4K dust and fire-proofed cameras and audio-gear. A two-person crew shares the lives of the firemen or air pilots aboard their vehicles. All shots will be stabilized using multi-axis gizmos available on the market. Additional cinematography is provided by:
- fixed cameras on planes which are constantly recording,
- gyro stabilized mounts on a separate chopper,
- shots from vantage points.
Our production studios being virtually next door to Provence’s operation and command center, our teams have reacted quickly and jumped aboard planes or fire trucks at short notice. Three different experienced producers supervised two shows each and post-produced them through a central server where all images are stored. In-house artists provided the computer-generated imagery of the fires, the rapid response team deployment and some technical aspects.