Approximately 225 additional Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) soldiers have been deployed to British Columbia to combat the wildfires that continue to engulf parts of the region.
The decision was made after an additional Request for Federal Assistance from the RCMP was made to relieve many of the officers who have been on the ground for days fighting the fires.
British Columbia remains in a state of emergency as more than 150 fires continue to rage on and close to 43,000 people are under evacuation.
The deploying soldiers are part of the 3rd Canadian Division/Joint Task Force West’s Immediate Response Unit (IRU) West, based in Edmonton, AB. This unit is comprised of members from the 1 Combat Engineer Regiment and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
These 225 soldiers are from the IRU Vanguard Company and a Forward Support Group from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, as well as Reservists from 39 Mechanized Brigade Group and a number of Canadian Rangers.
They will be joining the approximately 150 CAF members currently already on the ground in BC.
“The most important thing 3rd Canadian Division/Joint Task Force West troops can be asked to do is assist Canadians in their time of need. That is exactly what we are doing today as we dispatch these Regular, Reserve and Canadian Rangers members in support of the Government of British Columbia’s evacuation and firefighting efforts,” said BGen. Trevor Cadieu, Commander 3rd Canadian Division/Joint Task Force West.
Alongside the RCMP, the military members will assist in providing information to the public, ground evacuation of civilians and the delivery of essential aid.
Along with the soldiers, the CAF is also providing an additional CC-130J Hercules aircraft to replace the CC-177 Globemaster III, CH-147 Chinooks, and CH-146 Griffons.
“The addition of soldiers and equipment from CFB Edmonton to conduct activities in support of the RCMP and our provincial partners demonstrates the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of those affected by the wildfires in BC. The Canadian Armed Forces are always ready and proud to assist Canadians in need,” said RAdm. Art McDonald, Commander Joint Task Force Pacific.
The CAF’s assistance with the BC wildfires falls under Operation LENTUS, a contingency plan that outlines the joint response to provide support for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response to provincial and territorial authorities.