UPDATE: Tree faller who died while working at Sechelt fire identified

WATCH: The Sunshine Coast is mourning the loss of a tree faller who died fighting a wildfire near Sechelt this past weekend. Randene Neill reports.

UPDATE: The BC Coroners Service has identified the man who died while fighting a wildfire near Sechelt on July 5 as 60-year-old John Joe Phare of Roberts Creek. Phare was contracted to the BC Wildfire Service and was working on the Old Sechelt Mine felling trees. He was struck by a falling tree and passed away at the scene.

Phare worked as a tree faller for 30 years.  Never married, he recently became engaged.

A man has died while working at a fire north of Sechelt today.

RCMP have confirmed that a 60-year-old tree feller died while working at the Old Sechelt Mine fire site this morning.

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Emergency Health Services and RCMP were dispatched to the scene at 12:08 p.m., says Sunshine Coast RCMP Sgt. Chubey.

“A worker was killed in a work-related incident and that the investigation has been turned over to the WorkSafe BC,” wrote Chubey in a statement.

WorkSafe BC investigators are heading to the site, but are not expected to provide any updates until tomorrow.

“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 Constable Harrison Mohr with Sunshine Coast RCMP in a statement.

“We are fortunate to have such brave men and women working to protect our homes and communities.”

The fire, 10 kilometres north of Sechelt’s town centre, is 80 hectares in size, and has steadily grown since it broke out on Thursday evening. However, all growth in the last day has been to the west and north, away from the cabins under an evacuation alert.

READ MORE: Evacuation alert issued due to forest fire burning near Sechelt

No structures are currently threatened, and evacuations have not been ordered. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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There is heavy smoke and ash in the area, but this is mainly due to active wildfires inland.


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