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Alberta firefighter dies while in Red Lake to battle forest fire

Firefighter has been identified as Jerry Gadwa of Kehewin, Alta.
Forest fire Kenora 71 July 2018
A wildlands firefighter from Alberta has died while in Red Lake to assist with fire supression.

RED LAKE, Ont. -- An Alberta firefighter has died while in Northwestern Ontario to help battle a wildfire.

Ontario Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Jeff Yurek confirmed he was notified on Thursday that an Alberta wildland firefighter who was part of the province's response to assist Ontario crews with the blaze in the Red Lake area had died.

"Our hearts go out to his family and friends back home, to his crew members and to all the Alberta firefighters who are helping to keep Ontarians safe," Yurek said in a statement released by the ministry early Friday evening.

"These brave men and women are working around the clock to help fight these fires. It's dangerous and hard work -- they are our first line of defense and they step up each and every time. We're grateful for their efforts and their sacrifices, and for reminding us that we're never stronger than when we work together."

The ministry did not provide any details about the cause or circumstances of the death.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in a statement said the firefighter was Jerry Gadwa, a resident of Kehewin, Alta.

"We are one country, and we look out for one another," Notley said. "Mr. Gadwa and his fellow firefighters were in Ontario fighting to defend the well-being of their fellow Canadians. The sacrifice they and their families make is extraordinary and is felt heavily in hearts throughout Alberta and across Canada."

Yurek said Ontario is currently receiving firefighting support "from Mexico to Minnesota" and "from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island."


Matt Vis

About the Author: Matt Vis

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Matt is honoured to tell the stories of his hometown.
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