The man who died while helping fight a forest fire near Sechelt over the weekend had been logging on British Columbia's coast for 40 years and was well known around his hometown as a local hero.
John Phare, 60, who lived in Roberts Creek, had been contracted by BC Wildfire Service to cut down trees at the site of the Old Sechelt Mine fire on Sunday when he was struck by a falling tree. He died at the scene, the coroners service said.
"Everybody called him a hero, no matter what, because he helped people all the time," said his brother, Lonnie Phare. "He was well liked in the whole community."
Mr. Phare's death comes in a hot and dangerous fire season in which thousands have been forced from their homes in parts of northern Saskatchewan and the interior of British Columbia. The province says it will soon need more resources, and the hottest and driest months of summer are still to come.
Mr. Phare had helped the province fight forest fires many times.
"It was just a freak accident that happened. A tree that he fell, a tree behind it came over too," Lonnie said. "He didn't even see it."
His brother said the long-time logger will be remembered for training locals to use his machines and helping others when they had money troubles.
"In general, he was a wonderful person to everybody," Lonnie said. "He just took everybody under his arm."
The B.C. Coroners Service, WorkSafeBC, the wildfire service and the RCMP are investigating Mr. Phare's death.
The province has asked for additional resources from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, the national body that brokers requests for fire-fighting personnel, equipment and aircraft across the country.
"We're at a critical stage in our resources [and], depending on the number of new fire starts, we need to look across the country for support," the province's Forest, Land and Natural Resource Operations Minister, Steve Thomson, said at a press conference on Monday.
"Requests are out," Mr. Thomsom said. "Knowing the extraordinary situation we are in, we need to look at having all the tools in the toolbox that we might need."
With 866 fires since April 1, British Columbia has had more than twice as many wildfires as it did by this time last year and surpassed its annual firefighting budget by more than $20-million.
More than 220,000 hectares have gone up in flames, and 27 new fires were recorded on Sunday.
The minister's office said it has asked for more personnel and at least one aircraft. It would not confirm how many firefighters were requested. The wildfire service previously brought in pumps and hoses from other provinces, the ministry said.
The concern over resources is not limited to B.C. Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan have also asked the CIFFC for more resources, and national supplies are running thin. A total of 4,555 fires and about 2.3 million hectares have burned across the country.
"All these provinces are facing challenges as well and that's going to stretch resources," Mr. Thomson said.
The interagency fire centre is operating at its highest level of national preparedness. According to its situation report, "national resource levels are insufficient to meet occurring and anticipated wildland fire activity."
Marc Mousseau, a national duty officer at CIFFC, said resources have been requested from the United States, and possibly Australia and Mexico, among other countries. On Sunday, Alberta imported a U.S. water bomber.
"We're looking at all available options right now," he said.
Earlier this year, B.C.'s wildfire service sent aircraft and personnel to Alaska, but they were recalled when the province's season flared up, the ministry said; 31 firefighters are expected to return from Yukon on Tuesday.