September 12, 2017 6:28 pm
Updated: September 12, 2017 8:29 pm

Ceremony honouring fallen firefighters ‘especially poignant’ as crews battle Waterton wildfire

The annual firefighters memorial in Calgary, Alta., on Sept. 12, 2017

Aurelio Perri/ News Talk 770

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth said Tuesday a ceremony in honour of fallen Calgary firefighters is “especially poignant” with crews currently battling the devastating Kenow Mountain Wildfire, which has destroyed the main visitor centre at Waterton Lakes National Park and has forced hundreds of people from their homes.

“Of course, when we have people in active fire situations, particularly remote and in slightly different circumstances from what we’d normally perform, that makes it particularly pertinent to us,” he said.

READ MORE: Waterton wildfire: Calgary firefighters ‘critical’ in battling blaze

WATCH BELOW: Video shows fire crews working in Waterton

Dongworth said three separate relief crews from the Calgary Fire Department have been deployed to help protect the Waterton townsite.

On Tuesday, the department honoured 45 of its fallen comrades in an annual memorial ceremony at the Police and Firefighters Tribute Plaza in Calgary.

The event pays homage to firefighters who’ve died on the job or lost their lives due to an illness related to their work.

WATCH BELOW: Water bombers fill up to battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire at the Waterton Dam

READ MORE: Waterton wildfire update: visitor centre lost, townsite appears to be intact

Fellow firefighters, family members and complete strangers came to pay their respects.

“For every firefighter, I think, this strikes a note,” Dongworth said. “I know the community takes this very seriously as well, and recognizes the sacrifice of those people, as we do.”

READ MORE: Waterton fire: A look at the pristine hamlet threatened by wildfire

He said firefighters are well aware of the dangers they face on the job. But, he said it’s important to remember the sacrifices of those who’ve lost their lives.

–With files from Aurelio Perri

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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