Canada wildfires: Trudeau, others mourn second firefighter death as smoke sparks further US air quality alerts

Fort Liard firefighter dies while battling wildfires in Canada's Northwest Territories

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences Sunday amid news a second firefighter died amid battling this season's record blazes. 

A Fort Liard firefighter passed away "from an injury sustained while fighting a wildfire near their community on Saturday afternoon," the government for Canada's Northwest Territories announced in a statement Sunday. The firefighter has yet to be publicly identified. 

"I’m incredibly saddened by the news from the Northwest Territories, that another firefighter has lost their life battling wildfires," Trudeau tweeted Sunday. "To their family, their friends, and those they were heroically serving alongside: Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts. We’re here for you."

Wildfire Information Officer Jessica Davey-Quantick said the firefighter was involved in combating a blaze that started July 7 in the Fort Liard District and is currently about 16 miles southeast of the town. She told The Associated Press no other information about the firefighter would be provided until family members had been notified.


canada wildfires trudeau others mourn second firefighter death as smoke sparks further us air quality alerts

An aerial view of wildfire of Tatkin Lake in British Columbia, Canada on July 10, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"I have spoken with the family to express my grief and to emphasize what a tremendous loss this is for everyone who knew them and for the community of Fort Liard," the territorial government's Environment and Climate Change Minister Shane Thompson said in a statement. "Firefighters across the territory have my utmost respect for their continued efforts to protect our homes and our communities while facing such extreme conditions. This has already been a very challenging season for NWT firefighters, with wildfires starting earlier than normal and within reach of our communities and other critical infrastructure."

"I commend all of our firefighters for their commitment to protect our communities and other items of value," Thompson said. "Their dedication to their work and by extension, our protection, does not go unnoticed – but also makes this loss even more painful. To think that one of our own firefighters was lost protecting their own community is incredibly saddening. I want to send my deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. I share your deep sorrow at this loss."

canada wildfires trudeau others mourn second firefighter death as smoke sparks further us air quality alerts

Society of Protection of Forests from Fire prevention agent Melanie Morin walks through an area of burned forest in the area surrounding Lebel-sur-Quevillon, Quebec, Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Premier of the Northwest Territories Caroline Cochrane added in a tweet, "This is a tragic loss for the entire territory, and I extend my heartfelt condolences to their family, friends and colleagues. The bravery and selflessness of our firefighters is an incredible gift to us all. Thank you for your service to our territory and to our country." 


The death came two days after firefighter Devyn Gale was killed by a falling tree near Revelstoke, British Columbia. 

canada wildfires trudeau others mourn second firefighter death as smoke sparks further us air quality alerts

French firefighters try to extinguish wildfires in Clova, Quebec, Canada on June 18, 2023. (SOPFEU / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the 19-year-old woman’s team had lost contact with her before the accident, and she was found after a search.

As of Sunday, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre recorded 883 active fires, with about 24.5 million acres of land burned. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency posted air quality alerts for several states stretching from Montana to Ohio on Sunday because of smoke blowing in from Canadian wildfires.

"Air Quality alerts are in place for much of the Great Lakes, Midwest, and northern High Plains," the National Weather Service said. "This is due to the lingering thick concentration of Canadian wildfire smoke over these regions. While the concentration of smoke in the atmosphere should begin to wain by Monday, there is still enough smoke to support unhealthy air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups in parts of these regions into the start of the upcoming week."

canada wildfires trudeau others mourn second firefighter death as smoke sparks further us air quality alerts

Smoke billows from the Donnie Creek wildfire burning north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday that unhealthy air from the wildfires in Canada was expected to hit parts of New York state again Monday, mostly in northern and western parts of the state. She said the air quality index was forecasted to be 100 to 150 in those areas, when 0 to 50 is the norm. Her comments came at a news conference about heavy rain and flooding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and on Twitter: @danimwallace. 

Authored by Danielle Wallace via FoxNews July 17th 2023