Additional military personnel arrive in B.C.’s interior

A member of Land Task Force - Pacific shows a returning resident of Williams Lake, B.C., the evacuation alert and order areas during Operation Lentus. Photo by MCpl Malcolm Byers, Wainwright Garrison Imaging

A member of Land Task Force – Pacific shows a returning resident of Williams Lake, B.C., the evacuation alert and order areas during Operation Lentus. Photo by MCpl Malcolm Byers, Wainwright Garrison Imaging

Land Task Force, Public Affairs ~

As the wildfires continued to rage in B.C.’s interior last week, the Province of British Columbia requested additional assistance from the Government of Canada. Following that request, Canadian Army members made their way to the interior to join the Royal Canadian Air Force in supporting wildfire fighting efforts.

The majority of the land forces are from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) in Edmonton, Alberta. They arrived in Williams Lake July 21, and linked in with partner organizations already in place to manage traffic observation and reporting points.

“We’ve been ready for this deployment; vehicles were ready to go and we were itching to get out the door,” said Corporal Thomas Hart, a combat engineer working alongside three other Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and a RCMP officer at an observation and reporting point south of Williams Lake. “By coming out here we get to help fellow Canadians in a real-life situation, dealing with a real-life problem, where we can have a beneficial and positive impact on their lives.”

Farther south, CAF members had the opportunity to welcome residents of 100 Mile House home after the evacuation order was downgraded to an evacuation alert on July 22.

Soldiers saw lots of weary but grinning faces as locals returned home following nearly two weeks away.

“It’s been very rewarding to work in our own community, which we don’t always get to do,” said Master Corporal Roger Beverage, a Canadian Ranger with the 100 Mile House patrol. “Also, it’s been a new experience working so closely with other agencies such as the RCMP and Regular Force.”

Once across the B.C. – Alberta border the soldiers came under operational control of Joint Task Force Pacific (JTFP) headquartered at CFB Esquimalt. JTFP is the Canadian Armed Forces organization tasked with conducting domestic military operations in British Columbia, when requested by the province and authorized by the Government of Canada. Operation Lentus is the operation that responds to natural disasters. It is the fourth operation in Canada this year.

Filed Under: Top Stories

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