A memorial procession and service will be held on Saturday to honor 19-year-old Devyn Gale, who tragically lost her life while fighting a wildfire near Revelstoke, B.C. The procession, taking place in Revelstoke, will include Gale’s colleagues from the BC Wildfire Service, as well as a colour party, an honour guard, and representatives from first-responder agencies. Last Thursday, Gale was struck by a falling tree, which ultimately resulted in her untimely death. This devastating incident is one of several recent losses experienced by Canadian firefighters as they battle the numerous blazes that continue to ravage the country.
In addition to Gale’s passing, another firefighter from Fort Liard, located in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories, also lost his life last weekend while fighting a wildfire in the area. The gravity of these losses has prompted an outpouring of support and condolences from individuals across the nation, including Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. In a social media post on Thursday, Premier Smith expressed her deepest sympathies on behalf of Albertans to the family, friends, and all those who knew the fallen firefighters.
The somber news of these firefighters’ deaths coincides with ongoing wildfires in various regions of British Columbia. Specifically, the St. Mary’s River wildfire, which continues to rage out of control, has resulted in an expanded evacuation order and alert for multiple homes in southeastern B.C. The Regional District of East Kootenay recently issued an evacuation order for 15 properties in the Woods Corner East area near Cranbrook. This includes some properties that had already been on alert since Tuesday. Additionally, a new evacuation alert has been issued for nine properties in the Woods Corner West Area.
According to the district, strong winds in the late afternoon, increased fire activity, and significant growth of the St. Mary’s River wildfire necessitated these evacuation orders and alerts. Tragically, the Aq’am First Nation confirmed that several homes have been lost, although specific details about the number of affected individuals or homes have not been released. Earlier this week, the Regional District of East Kootenay had already issued an evacuation order for 52 homes, with an additional 43 properties on evacuation alert. The BC Wildfire Service reports that the St. Mary’s River fire, measuring 8.5 square kilometers, was caused by human activity and remains out of control.
As the community mourns the loss of Devyn Gale and other brave firefighters, the ongoing wildfires serve as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by these courageous individuals who put their lives on the line to protect others and combat these devastating natural disasters. The memorial procession and service on Saturday will provide an opportunity for family, friends, colleagues, and the community to come together, pay their respects, and celebrate the life of a young firefighter who made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a time to honor her dedication, bravery, and selflessness, as well as the sacrifices made by all those who stand on the frontlines in the battle against wildfires.