EDMONTON – “Yesterday, an Alberta wildland firefighter, Mr. Jerry Gadwa, a resident of Kehewin, unexpectedly passed away while supporting fire suppression efforts in Red Lake, Ontario.
“As Albertans, we know all too well the sacrifices of our firefighters and first responders. On behalf of the Government of Alberta, I want to offer our deepest condolences and support to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Gadwa.
“We are one country and we look out for one another. 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.
“Mr. Gadwa’s brave and selfless actions will be remembered. To those who knew him beyond his career – his family, friends and loved ones – it is my hope that your memories of him give you comfort, and that the shared grief of a grateful province and country provides you with peace. You are in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford states, “While observing the fire suppression effort in Northern Ontario today, we honoured and remembered Jerry Gadwa from Alberta, who unexpectedly passed away while fighting forest fires in Red Lake, ON. The people of Ontario extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”
Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Honourable Jeff Yurek, issued the following statement:
“I learned yesterday that an Alberta wildland firefighter assisting our response to wildfires in Northwestern Ontario has 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.
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.
Ontario is fortunate to have fire crews from Mexico to Minnesota; from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island helping to fight the fires burning in northern and central Ontario, alongside our law enforcement, municipalities, Indigenous communities and emergency staff.”