Operation LENTUS responds to B.C. wildfires

British Columbia provincial water bomber planes take off from Kamloops Airport behind a CH-146 Griffon Helicopter in support of Operation LENTUS 17-04 on July 11, 2017. Photo: MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers.
British Columbia provincial water bomber planes take off from Kamloops Airport behind a CH-146 Griffon Helicopter in support of Operation LENTUS 17-04 on July 11, 2017. Photo: MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers.

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Responding to a provincial request on June 9, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has sent air assets, liaison and personnel to British Columbia to support the ongoing emergency response to widespread wildfire.

The CAF has deployed a CC-177 Globemaster III, CC-130J Hercules, two CH-147F Chinook, and three CH-146 Griffon to assist with the evacuation of the local population and to provide airlift capacities for first responders and emergency equipment.

“Skilled and dedicated Canadian Armed Forces personnel always stand ready to help fellow Canadians in need,” said Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan. “Partners across the Government of Canada, including the Canadian Armed Forces, will continue to provide support to the Province of British Columbia as they fight these wildfires, for as long as the need exists.”

CAF emergency response support is undertaken as part of Operation LENTUS, the CAF contingency plan that outlines the joint response to provide support for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response to provincial and territorial authorities in the case of a major natural disaster. CAF personnel will not conduct law enforcement or security tasks during their deployment. Instead, their objectives are to assist provincial and territorial authorities, to respond quickly and effectively to the crisis, and to stabilize the natural disaster situation.

B.C. declared a provincial state of emergency on July 7 after a strong wind and lightning system ignited over 200 wildfires in the dry interior region. An estimated 14 000 people have been evacuated so far.

Image gallery

  • Caption: Comox Fire Rescue Truck being secured on a Hercules at 19 Wing Comox in support of Operation LENTUS. Credit: Cpl J.E. Clement.
  • A C-130 Hercules takes off from CFB Comox in support of Operation LENTUS 17-04 on July 11, 2017. Photo: Cpl Jeffrey Clement.
  • A C-130 Hercules takes off from CFB Comox in support of Operation LENTUS 17-04 on July 11, 2017. Photo: Cpl Jeffrey Clement.
  • British Columbia provincial water bomber planes take off from Kamloops Airport behind a CH-146 Griffon Helicopter in support of Operation LENTUS 17-04 on July 11, 2017. Photo: MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers.
  • Warren Burkinshaw, provincial liaison officer at the Prince George Fire Centre, explains how the command centre operates to Canadian Armed Forces Initial Response Unit members in Prince George British Columbia during Operation LENTUS 17-04 on July 12, 2017. Photo: MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers.
  • A Canadian Armed Forces Flight Engineer surveys the wildfires in British Columbia from onboard a CH-147 Chinook helicopter during a reconnaissance flight as part of Operation LENTUS 17-04 in Kamloops British Columbia, on July 12, 2017. Photo: MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers.
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