Updated: Nov 19
Another convoy of military personnel and equipment arrived in Vernon Saturday. They are headed to the White Rock Lake Fire, joining the ground fight against the 81,000 hectare White Rock Lake Fire, still classified as out of control.
Up to 350 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are approved to assist BC in addition to the CAF pilots and support crews currently based in Kamloops.
The Canadian Armed Forces helping British Columbia fight the fires are split into two groups. The Air Task Force, based in Kamloops, the Land Task Force, Vernon.
Operation LENTUS is the Canadian Armed Forces response to natural disasters in Canada
This is the second rotation of the Canadian Armed Forces in BC this fire season.
The first contingent of Land Task Force deployed from July 23 to August 13 were from 1 Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, who are part of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and based in Edmonton.
Canadian Armed Forces Video on Twitter
Now deployed on the White Rock Lake fire, the second rotation Ground Task Force are 1 Combat Engineer Regiment, also from CFB Edmonton along with reservists from Army Reserve Formations, 38 out of Winnipeg, 39 Vancouver, and 41 Calgary Canadian Brigade Groups.
The reservists are from Thunder Bay to Victoria.
Like so many volunteers they put their personal lives on hold to help those in need.
British Columbia requested Federal Assistance 3 times this summer. The first two, July 3rd and 14th, BC requested air support.
The Air Task Force responded assisting with moving wildfire crews and equipment. The group also helped with advanced planning.
The 3rd request for help, July 19, was for boots on the ground. The Canadian Armed Forces Ground Task Force responded. Troops are helping with hotspot control and mop up operations. That frees up dedicated BC Wildfire Type 1 firefighters so they can focus on more active wildfires...
The Air Task Force brought,
This is not the first time Canadian Armed Forces have been called upon to help fight forest fires. Military Assistance is frequently requested during unusually active fire seasons.
As recent as 2018 British Columbia asked the Federal Government for assistance with its firefighting efforts to protect public safety, property and infrastructure.
2018 was British Columbia's worst fire season on record to that point with 2,115 fires and 1.35 million hectares burned.
Over 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel were brought in to help with the mop-up and patrol of contained fires that year, under the supervision of the BC Wildfire Service
On July 19, 2021, the Canadian Armed Forces received an additional request for federal assistance from the province of British Columbia to help firefighting efforts in the Vernon area.
The CAF Immediate Response Unit of up to 350 personnel from Edmonton begin deploying to the affected location during the week of July 19 to 23rd.
Total Fires to Date... August 27, 2021, 3116
Total Area Burned 1,729,208 hectares