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‘Wherever you are Dev, I hope you can feel the love,’ says brother during memorial for B.C. wildfire fighter

A memorial procession and service was held Saturday afternoon for Devyn Gale who died last week fighting a wildfire near Revelstoke, B.C.

Devyn Gale died during 3rd season with the B.C. Wildfire Service after being struck by a falling tree

A woman with dark hair smiles for a photo in front of a wildfire. She wears a dusty red button up and a firefighter's helmet.

A memorial procession and service was held Saturday afternoon for Devyn Gale who died last week fighting a wildfire near Revelstoke, B.C.

Family, friends and fellow firefighters, along with B.C. Permier David Eby tearfully paid tribute to the 19-year-old woman.

"It was an honour to be part of a really profound, moving community service today," said Eby. "As a province today we mourn with the family."

Devyn Gale, in her third season with the B.C. Wildfire Service, died on July 13 after being struck by a falling tree while fighting a wildfire near Revelstoke.

On Saturday in Revelstoke, hundreds of residents lined the streets as an honour guard with members from the Kamloops and Kelowna fire departments led the procession.

It featured bagpipe music and a vast group of B.C. Wildfire Service personnel in their red shirts and blue pants.

Inside the gym of Revelstoke Secondary School where the memorial was held, a large portrait of Gale in her B.C. Wildfire Service was displayed on the stage, showing her arms crossed, and a huge smile on her face.

Items memorializing Devyn Gale were carried by her B.C. Wildfire Service colleagues, including her uniform and engraved pulaski, which is an axe-like hand tool firefighters use for their work in the field.

WATCH | Devyn Gale's siblings speak about what their sister meant to them:

Nolan and Kayln Gale, both wildfire fighters, remember their sister Devyn

2 hours ago

Duration 8:06

The siblings of the fallen B.C. wildfire fighter tearfully reflected on their sister's life and legacy at a memorial service for her in Revelstoke, B.C.

Gale's brother and sister, Nolan and Kayln, who are also firefighters, gave emotional speeches about their sister, calling her compassionate, wise and nurturing.

"Devyn was an amazing sister, she was kind, caring, loving," said Nolan, who was working alongside Devyn when she was pinned beneath the tree. He said he helped pull her out from under it.

"I'm grateful because it meant I got a few extra minutes with you," he said through tears. "Wherever you are Dev, I hope you can feel the love, I hope you can see all the hearts you've touched."

Members of the B.C. Wildfire Service at the memorial said the family is known as the 'Gale-force,' in the service for having three siblings all working as firefighters.

Kayln Gale, the youngest in the family, said she joined the service because her brother and sister had. She said despite being only a year separated in age and at times rivals, Kayln considered Devyn her best friend.

"Her favourite type of tree was the Western red cedar and her favourite flowers were purple lilacs, she liked tide pools, swimming in glacial lakes in the summer sun," she said. "Her heart was also open to enrich hers and others' lives.

"She made my world sparkle with colour."

Casey Robinson of the B.C. Wildfire Service, who interviewed and trained Gale, said he was impressed by her "smarts, her energy and her ability to work hard."

He says Gale was an "excellent firefighter'' and encouraged all those in the same field to continue her legacy of "being welcoming, conscientious and open-hearted to anyone who joins'' their crews.

Gale is one of three Canadian firefighters who have died battling the hundreds of blazes that are burning across the country and the first wildfire fighter to die in B.C. in almost a decade.

The B.C. Wildfire Service did not say which fire she was fighting when she died.

Adam Yeadon, 25, died last Saturday while fighting a wildfire near his home in Fort Liard, N.W.T.

A 41-year-old helicopter pilot from Whitecourt, Alta., died after his aircraft crashed Wednesday during firefighting operations in that province's northwest.

Devyn Gale has been studying to become a nurse outside of her work fighting wildfires.

'Maybe this is the call to action we need'

Kayln Gale said the firefighter deaths were a stark reminder of the dangers of wildfires and how the changing climate was making summers increasingly perilous for workers like her and her sister.

"Maybe this is the call to action we need with every summer having record-breaking numbers of fires and record-breaking temps and record-breaking natural disasters," she said. "The world isn't playing fair."

The RCMP said Gale's colleagues found her beneath the tree and started first aid after losing contact with her during the call. She was airlifted to Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke, where she died of her injuries.

As of Saturday morning, three wildfires were burning within 50 kilometres of Revelstoke, a mountain community about 150 kilometres west of the Alberta border.

RCMP and WorkSafeBC are investigating the teenager's death.

About 500 international firefighters are helping 2,000 provincial personnel on the front lines battling more than 400 blazes across B.C. on Saturday.

With files from the Canadian Press, Rhianna Schmunk and Tom Popyk

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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