Another firefighter has been killed during Canada’s worst wildfire season on record.
The man from Fort Liard, a hamlet in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories, died of an injury sustained while battling a wildfire in the Fort Liard district on Saturday afternoon.
A Sunday news release from the Government of the Northwest Territories does not identify the firefighter, but confirms that his family, the RCMP, and the Coroner Service have been notified.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues and community. We share your deep sorrow at this loss,” wrote wildfire information officer Jessica Davey-Quantick in the release.
“We send our deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragedy, including wildfire personnel who are committed to protecting their communities and the residents of the NWT.”
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There are at least three wildfires burning near Fort Liard, about 37 kilometres north of the B.C. border.
In a Sunday tweet, N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane said she was “deeply saddened” by the loss of life due to an injury sustained while protecting the territory, and thanked the man for his service.
“This is a tragic loss for the entire territory, and I extend my heartfelt condolences to their family, friends and colleagues. The bravery and selflessness of our firefighters is an incredible gift to us all.”
He is the second person to be killed on the job while battling wildfires in Canada this year.
On July 13, 19-year-old Devyn Gale was struck and killed by a fallen tree outside a remote area of Revelstoke, B.C. The wildland firefighter had been working alongside a team clearing brush where a small wildfire had started.
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Gale reportedly became separated from her colleagues and was discovered under the tree afterward. She died of her injuries after being airlifted to the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke.
The city in southeastern British Columbia is still reeling from her death. Gale was also third-year nursing student at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus.
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Canada’s record-breaking wildfire season has now seen about 100,000 square kilometres of land scorched as hundreds of fires continue to burn out of control across the country.
In the Northwest Territories, more than 80 wildfires are burning. In B.C., that number surpassed 375 as of Sunday morning.
On Friday, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair approved a request for federal assistance to aid firefighters and emergency management personnel in B.C., including support from the Canadian Armed Forces.
B.C. Minister of Emergency Management Bowinn Ma has requested 1,000 international firefighters be deployed to the province as well, joining 160 from Mexico and the United States who are already assisting.
Firefighters from South Korea, France, South Africa and the Dominican Republic have also been fighting fires in Canada.
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