CAF Military aircrafts will begin pulling out of northern Alberta and returning to their home bases after provincial authorities decided they no longer require CAF air assets to respond to the Fort McMurray wildfires.
“The Canadian Armed Forces responded swiftly to the call for assistance from the Province of Alberta, providing professional and capable support when Albertans needed it most. I am extremely proud of our military’s contribution in supporting Albertans, first responders and the Government of Alberta,” said Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan.
CAF assets and personnel in Alberta will continue to remain on standby if the province requires further assistance and Joint Task Force West (JTF) has an allocated Immediate Response Unit of 350 members on heightened readiness.
“We are very proud of what our personnel have accomplished over the past nine days. As our first priority, we stand ready to protect our fellow Canadians here at home in their time of need,” said Brigadier-General Wayne Eyre, Commander Joint Task Force West.
The aircrafts deployed to northern Alberta included four CH-146 Griffon helicopters, one CH-147 Chinook helicopter, and one CC-130J Hercules aircraft. A total of 65 CAF personnel, consisting of aircrew, aircraft maintainers, air movements personnel, liaison officers, and other support staff, were deployed to the region.
During the nine days the CAF supported Albertan authorities to fight the wildfires, JTF shipped 124,000 lbs of freight, transported 367 evacuees to safety and transported 173 firefighters in and out of the area. Under Operation LENTUS 16-01, the CAF assisted provincial authorities in all requests made including providing assistance and evacuation to individuals living in isolated areas, delivery of essential aid and the transportation of essential firefighting equipment and personnel to affected areas.
The Air Task Force, working from Conklin, Alberta, conducted one search and rescue mission, eight reconnaissance flights over raging wildfires, and eight night surveillance flights to monitor the wildfire conditions.
Featured image: A CH-147 Chinook helicopter sits on the tarmac at Fort McMurray, Alberta during a state of emergency on May 8, 2016.