“It’s a tragedy when any worker loses their life on the job, and we hope his family can take some solace knowing that he was helping protect the public from wildfires.” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (08 July 2015) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) extends condolences to the family and co-workers of Johnny Phare, the contract logger who died while working with BCGEU/NUPGE members on the Old Sechelt Mine fire.
Contract logger Johnny Phare died while protecting the public from wildfire in B.C.
“We send our deepest sympathy and condolences to Johnny’s family and to his co-workers,” says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “It’s a tragedy when any worker loses their life on the job, and we hope his family can take some solace knowing that he was helping protect the public from wildfires.”
Phare worked as a tree faller alongside BCGEU/NUPGE danger tree assessors, identifying and falling trees that pose a danger to forest fire fighters. Reports suggest that a second danger tree was dislodged by the tree he was falling and that it ultimately took his life.
Difficult and dangerous work
“BCGEU/NUPGE members work closely as a team with contract workers during fire-fighting season,” says Smith. “They do very difficult and dangerous work to protect British Columbians' property and environment. At times like these, we take time to reflect on their important work, wish them a safe return at the end of the day, and thank them for their public service.”
Offering condolences to Phares' family, friends and collegues, James Clancy, National President of the National Union on Public and General Employees (NUPGE), said, "On behalf of our 360,000 members, our sympathies go out to all those touched by Phares' death."
"Across Canada right now there are hundreds of women and men who are working to protect their communities," said Clancy. "This incident demonstrates what a dangerous situation these workers put themselves in when needed. They deserve our unconditional support and thanks.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE