The B.C. Wildfire Service operations director says fire crews continue to do the work needed to keep B.C.’s communities safe, but the death of firefighter Devyn Gale is being felt across both local and international crews.
Gale, 19, was a third-year firefighter with the B.C. Wildfire Service when she died July 13 after she was found caught under a fallen tree near Revelstoke.
“You spend countless hours and days in very difficult, extreme conditions, trying to protect the people and the infrastructure of your province and it was devastating for us last Thursday with the loss of Devyn Gale. We’re still reeling and still attempting to support one another and support the entire organization,” said Cliff Chapman during a wildfire update Thursday (July 20).
Gale had been working alongside a team, clearing brush within a remote area where a small fire had started.
The team lost contact with her and later discovered her caught under a fallen tree.
Her colleagues performed first aid, and she was later airlifted to Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke, where she succumbed to her injuries.
The incident is being investigated by the RCMP, B.C. Coroners Service, WorkSafeBC and the B.C. Wildfire Service.
Chapman said there is a lot of work going into supporting the Southeast Fire Centre – where Gale is from – and her family “as they deal with, really and unfathomable loss that none of us want to deal with.”
“I ask all British Columbians to keep her in your hearts as we experience the next number of weeks of fire season. As we all know this has been very challenging but not nearly as challenging as it is for the Gale family,” said Chapman.
The B.C. Wildfire Service and the City of Revelstoke have announced a community memorial procession and service to be held on Saturday, July 22, for Gale.
Since her death, two other firefighters in Canada have died in the last week.
Adam Yeadon, 25, died while fighting a wildfire near Fort Liard, in the Northwest Territories, a hamlet north of the British Columbia boundary, on July 15.
On Wednesday, a helicopter crashed in northwestern Alberta, killing the pilot. The 41-year-old from Whitecourt, Alta. was helping with firefighting efforts.
– With files from The Canadian Press, Revelstoke Review staff