BRITISH COLUMBIA

Tree Faller Killed Fighting Forest Fire Near Sechelt

07/06/2015 09:36 EDT | Updated 07/06/2016 05:59 EDT
A tree-faller from Gibsons was killed while fighting a forest fire on a steep slope on the Sunshine Coast of B.C. on Sunday.

RCMP say the incident happened around noon. No other details, including the man's identity, have been released by police. WorkSafeBC and the B.C. Coroners Service are now investigating.

The fire was first reported on Thursday and is now estimated to be 80 hectares in size and only 40 per cent contained, according to the B.C. Wildfire website. It is believed to be caused by humans.

"The fire has produced a high volume of danger trees in the area by burning tree roots and damaging tree limbs. The public have reported that they can hear these trees falling periodically, and the public is cautioned to stay out of the area to allow crews to work safely."

The Sunshine Coast Regional District issued an evacuation alert for 18 seasonal residences.

The death of the tree-faller is a reminder of just how dangerous this and other fires burning in the province are, said RCMP.

"This is a tragic example of how truly dangerous it is for those battling these wildfires, and should serve as a reminder of just how important it is for us all to do our best to prevent these fires from starting in the first place," said a statement released by Const. Harrison Mohr.

In 2010 two air tanker pilots were killed when their plane crashed fighting a forest fire in the B.C. Interior.

Currently there are about 180 wildfires burning in B.C., and much of the Metro Vancouver area has been blanketed by thick smoke from several fires burning on the South Coast region.

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