Wildland firefighter dies battling Ontario forest fires

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

NORTHERN ONTARIO – Forest fires raging in Northern Ontario have claimed their first victim.

On Thursday, July 26, Alberta wildland firefighter Jerry Gadwa died battling wildfires in Ontario.

Gadwa was a resident of Kehewin Cree Nation and served on that community’s fire department.

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek issued a statement on the incident yesterday (July 27).

“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. “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.”

Fire crews from Mexico to Minnesota and from British Colombia to Prince Edward Island are battling fires burning in northern and central Ontario.

Gadwa saw supporting fire suppression efforts near Red Lake, ON. Kehewin Cree Nation is 245 km northeast of Edmonton, 20 kms south of Bonnyville.

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