Emotional tributes during the memorial for the 19-year-old firefighter who died fighting a bushfire near Revelstoke

‘All smiles and greetings:’ Family and colleagues paid tribute to fallen fighter Devyn Gale in Revelstoke on Saturday.

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A memorial was held in Revelstoke on Saturday to remember Devyn Gale and honor the young firefighter, who died in the line of duty during what is probably BC’s worst wildfire season.

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Gale’s brother and sister, Nolan and Kayln, who are also firefighters, provided moving tributes, calling their sister driven, compassionate and empathetic.

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“Devyn, you are one of the nicest people I know. Although his humility would prevent me from ever saying it,” Nolan Gale said during the celebration of Gale’s life.

“You are an inspiration and a hero.”

Kayln Gale made a tearful plea for everyone to remember how her sister and best friend died, and not accept that the wildfires are getting worse every year.

“You should be laughing… rest easy knowing we will never forget you,” Kayln said.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people lined the street to pay their respects to Devyn, 19, who died when a tree fell while fighting a bushfire near Revelstoke last Thursday.

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They were joined in a solemn procession on a hot sunny day by members of the BC Forest Fire Service, several BC fire departments, uniformed troopers and bagpipers.

“She was all smiles and high fives,” said Stefan Hood of the BC Forest Fire Service.

In a quavering voice, Hood described Gale as “immensely beautiful and full of life, a ‘Gale force’ who loved her job and was always up for adventures.

“I wonder if, like me, she planned her next camping trip based on the newly discovered landscape that unfolded before her with each flight into the fire. I wonder how many of those adventures are planned and filed away, ready but never lived.

Another BC Wildfire Service colleague, Casey Robinson, said Gale always welcomed new crew members with an open heart.

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“When I met Devyn, he struck me as a carefully reserved person with a drive and a desire to learn,” she said. She “she joined the team and was a perfect fit. She became a person that everyone wanted to work with ”.

“She would tell everyone where they could find the equipment, what they should have in their backpack and she would prepare them. So they were comfortable, they felt at home and they were ready to go,” Robinson said.

Us loved as you overcome all of us with to smile in his face.”

Gale was born at Langley Memorial Hospital on Nov. 24, 2003, leaving behind grieving parents and two brothers, Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz said. He described her as a hard-working and capable student.

He said that when he was young, Devyn’s interests included competitive swimming and skiing with his family. But his main passion was training and competing in trampoline gymnastics, with the Revelstoke Acrobats Trampoline Club.

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Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz, who also served as the funeral director, told attendees that Gale competed in swimming and skiing growing up, and that her “main passion” was trampoline gymnastics.

“Devyn brought so much joy to her family, and her courage, integrity and passion to grow made it easy to be proud of her,” he said.

“Devyn also had a mischievous and goofy side full of jokes, wacky handshakes and bad singing that not everyone was privileged to see,” he added.

Gale, who was also a nursing student at UBC Okanagan, is one of three Canadians to have died during the firefighting efforts, as the country grapples with its worst wildfire season on record. Ryan Gould, 41, died Wednesday when the helicopter he was piloting crashed northeast of Peace River, Alta, and Adam Yeadon, 25, died last Saturday while fighting a wildfire near his home in Fort Liard, NWT.

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Revelstoke RCMP said Gale was working clearing brush in a remote area where a fire had started.

Mounties said his team lost contact with her before finding her pinned under a fallen tree. She was immediately given first aid, but she succumbed to her injuries after being airlifted to a hospital in Revelstoke.

The Revelstoke RCMP said the death is being investigated by police, the BC Coroner Service, WorkSafeBC and the BC Forest Fire Service.

Firefighters continue to battle hundreds of out-of-control wildfires in the province. Earlier this week, the BC government said mMore than 13,900 square kilometers of land had been razed, surpassing the record of 13,543 square kilometers burned, set in 2018.

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—with archives from The Canadian Press


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