A contracted firefighter battling the Donnie Creek wildfire near Fort St. John, B.C., has died, the province confirmed Saturday afternoon.
“I am devastated to learn that we have lost another wildfire fighter. My heart goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of this front-line hero,” Premier David Eby wrote in a statement. “On behalf of all British Columbians, we grieve this terrible news with you.”
The fallen firefighter has not been named, but Fort St. John RCMP identified him as a 25-year-old from Ontario who was employed by a private company in B.C. that was contracted to BC Wildfire Service.
Mounties said they were notified of his death on Friday, just before 11 a.m.
He was working in a remote area when the UTV he was riding rolled over a steep drop on a gravel road, RCMP said.
The man was taken to Fort St. John Airport by helicopter, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way, according to police.
The firefighter’s death is the second in B.C. and fourth in Canada during this year’s historic wildfire season, after 19-year-old Devyn Gale was killed by a falling tree while working a fire near Revelstoke on July 13.
Three days later, on July 16, officials said a firefighter in the Northwest Territories died battling a blaze near Fort Liard. And on July 19, 41-year-old helicopter pilot Ryan Gould died in a crash while fighting a fire near Haig Lake in northern Alberta.
“This wildfire season has been profoundly awful. We are so grateful to this firefighter and all of our firefighters for their daily heroism,” Eby continued.
“This tragic news reminds us yet again of the extraordinary sacrifices they make to keep us safe.”
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for BC Wildfire Service said the agency’s primary concern is the privacy of the individual’s family.
The latest death is being investigated by the RCMP, BC Coroners Service, WorkSafeBC and the BC Wildfire Service.
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