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article imageAlberta firefighter dies fighting wildfires in Red Lake, Ontario

By Karen Graham     Jul 27, 2018 in Environment
Ontario - This year's unusually active fire season in North America has taken another firefighter's life, this time in Northwestern Ontario on Thursday.
In a statement issued Friday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said that Jerry Gadwa, a resident of Kehewin Cree First Nation in Alberta, was helping with firefighting efforts near the town of Red Lake, Ont., about 100 km east of the Manitoba boundary, when he died Thursday.
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry confirmed an Alberta wildland firefighter died in northwestern Ontario. Shayne McCool, a fire information officer with the province, said, “We are working with the (provincial police) and the Ministry of Labour as they investigate the firefighter’s death."
McCool would not say if the investigation was part of normal procedures when a fireman dies on duty, but he did say, “This is not a common occurrence," according to the Globe and Mail.
“Our hearts do go out to our colleagues, family, and friends back home, to his crew members and all of the Alberta firefighters and support staff who are helping keep Ontario safe," McCool added.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also posted his condolences on Twitter on Friday evening. “While observing the fire suppression effort in Northern Ontario today, we honored and remembered Jerry Gadwa from Alberta,” Ford wrote. “The people of Ontario extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”
Fire activity in Ontario
Because of the number of wildfires and the extreme fire conditions, Ontario is receiving support from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to assist with the fire suppression and containment. Additional personnel and equipment are expected to arrive in the province in the coming days.
The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, Inc. gives updates every day, as well as the number of fires, broken down by province. So far this year, there have been 4,041 forest fires across Canada that have already consumed 302,522.51 hectares (747,549.40 acres).
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