From near and far, additional CAF personnel arrive in BC to support wildfire effort
By: Operation LENTUS 17-04 Land Task Force Public Affairs
When an additional request for help came from the Province of British Columbia (BC), Canadian Army members were ready. They immediately started making their way to the BC interior, joining Royal Canadian Air Force personnel already in location to support wildfire fighting efforts.
The majority of land forces are from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) in Edmonton, Alberta. They departed on July 19 and arrived in Williams Lake on July 21, linking in with partner organizations already in place in order to begin manning traffic observation and reporting points the next day.
“We’ve been ready for this deployment: vehicles ready to go and we were itching to get out the door,” said Corporal Thomas Hart, a combat engineer from Campbellton, Newfoundland. He is working alongside three other 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.
Ensuring a smooth flow of traffic and providing citizens with up-to-date information on evacuations and road closures, CAF soldiers saw lots of weary but grinning faces after locals had to leave their homes for nearly two weeks.
“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 like the RCMP and Regular Force.”
From hometowns across Canada, the soldiers deployed on Operation LENTUS 17-04 are proud to serve alongside federal, provincial, and municipal partners who are working diligently in service of citizens in need.
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