Third firefighter dies battling massive blazes in Canada

By AFP   July 29, 2023 | 06:17 pm PT
Third firefighter dies battling massive blazes in Canada
Flames reach upwards along the edge of a wildfire as seen from a Canadian Forces helicopter surveying the area near Mistissini, Quebec, Canada, June 12, 2023. Photo by Cpl Marc-Andre Leclerc/Canadian Forces/Handout via Reuters
A firefighter has died battling one of the massive blazes devastating Canada's forests this year, British Columbia's premier announced on Saturday.

It marked the third death of a firefighter during this devastating wildfire season.

"I am devastated to learn that we have lost another wildfire fighter. My heart goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of this frontline hero," Premier David Eby said in a statement.

Eby did not identify the contract firefighter, but authorities said the victim was at the Donnie Creek wildfire, near Fort St John, in the northeast of the province.

Two other firefighters have perished in separate operations this month, and a fourth person, a helicopter pilot, died July 19 when his aircraft crashed in Alberta, in western Canada, while taking part in relief operations.

Canadian wildfires have burned some 30 million acres (12 million hectares) this year, scorching an area larger than the size of Cuba or South Korea.

"This wildfire season has been profoundly awful," Eby said, who hailed firefighters as heroes making "extraordinary sacrifices... to keep us safe."

British Columbia currently has 368 active fires. In total, more than 990 fires are ravaging Canada, 613 of which are considered out of control.

Canada's geographic location means that it is warming faster than the rest of the planet, and in recent years it has been confronted with extreme weather events that have grown more frequent and intense by climate change.

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