Fireflies: articles

Cameron Wade

Cameron Wade (left) on location

Getting it right

Fireflies, ABC TV’s new 20-part Australian drama series follows the lives of a group of people in a small rural community during one long, hot summer. At the heart of the Lost River community are the ‘everyday heroes’ of the local rural fire brigade.

Behind the scenes, a vital member of the production team is Cameron Wade who is Media Officer for the Rural Fire Service in NSW and the Technical Adviser on the series. Story Editor John O’Brien contacted Cameron about two years ago when Fireflies was still just a concept. With 10 years experience as a firefighter and three years in the Fire Service media job, Cameron was able to offer more than technical advice—he had a wealth of information about situations and incidents across the State and many of these were incorporated into the storylines.

Since the series went into production, training in fire fighting skills has been on-going for the cast, conducted by the training staff of the Rural Fire Service. However to get truth in their performance the actors often want to know more than just the physical reality and turn to Cameron for an insight into the culture of the volunteer services, what makes people volunteer and how do they feel in various situations.

Cameron averages about three days a fortnight on set and often needs to read scripts overnight. This commitment is in addition to his regular job. However he doesn’t mind at all, ‘I believe it is a worthy project,’ he told Inside the ABC, ‘the series applies to the 250,000 volunteer firefighters across Australia. When you think of all the cop shows and doctor shows that have made you wonder why this hasn’t been done before.’ There is no doubt it is a truly Australian story.

Would he do it again? ‘Absolutely. At the drop of a hat. Actually before I joined the fire service I’d had a bit of production experience in television and theatre and I dreamt of doing this kind of series one day.’

location photo

Inside the ABC
Issue 19
February 2004