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Canada Department of National Defence, September 16, 2018 - Ottawa – Canadian military aircraft and approximately half of the Land Task Force will return to their home bases as provincial authorities in British Columbia assess a reduced requirement for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) support to provincial resources responding to the wildfires in the Okanagan region.
Operation LENTUS is the CAF response to natural disasters in Canada. Provincial and territorial authorities are the first to respond when a major natural disaster occurs in Canada. If they become overwhelmed, they may ask the CAF for help. When the CAF responds to such a crisis, it is known as Operation LENTUS.
Joint Task Force Pacific will maintain approximately 100 personnel consisting mostly of reservists from 38 Canadian Brigade Group, 39 Canadian Brigade Group and 41 Canadian Brigade Group to conduct mop-up operations in the Princeton area in continued support to this domestic operation.
“Our thoughts are with all those who were affected by the wildfires in British Columbia this summer. Though the damage is devastating, I am proud of the contribution our Canadian Armed Forces have made during this time of need. From transporting equipment and firefighters, to containing the fire’s spread through mop-up operations, our women and men in uniform demonstrated their professionalism and readiness to answer the call to serve and protect their fellow Canadians.", said Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister
“We are very proud of what our personnel have accomplished over the past weeks. We consider it our duty and privilege to help Canadians in need. The safety and security of Canadians is our highest priority, so it is important for us to respond to the call for assistance whenever required.”, said Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Joint Task Force Pacific
The Canadian Armed Forces shipped 105,500 lbs of freight, transported a total of 115 passengers, for a total of 202.2 flying hours. During the deployment of personnel and equipment on Operation LENTUS 18-05, the CAF met all of the requests made by provincial authorities, such as transporting personnel and equipment, as well as providing troops to help in mop-up operations to contain the fire’s spread.
The Air Task Force conducted 49 sorties which included reconnaissance flights over fire-affected areas and movement of personnel and equipment.
To date, the Land Task Force made up of Regular and Reserve Force personnel from Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 38 Canadian Brigade Group, 39 Canadian Brigade Group and 41 Canadian Brigade Group mopped-up approximately 1000 hectares of land in the regions of Gottfriedsen Mountain, Juliet Creek, Harris Creek, Woodward Creek and Cool Creek.
At its peak, the CAF’s contribution to emergency efforts consisted of one CH-146 Griffon helicopter, one CH-124 Sea King helicopter, and one CC-130J Hercules aircraft and approximately 420 CAF personnel consisting of mop-up crews, aircrew, aircraft maintainers, air movements personnel, liaison officers, and headquarters and support staff.