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Minister’s statement on Canadian Armed Forces assistance with wildfires

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, has released the following statement regarding the assistance provided by the Canadian Armed Forces during this year’s wildfire season:

“I want to thank all of the Canadian Armed Forces personnel, and all our other partners who provided such invaluable assistance, for their hard work and dedication this fire season. On Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, the Canadian Armed Forces deployment on B.C. wildfires will come to an end.

“As every British Columbian knows, this fire season has been one of the most active and destructive on record. Dry conditions and aggressive fire behaviour have presented numerous challenges this summer.

“When faced with such extreme circumstances, the BC Wildfire Service often reaches out to other jurisdictions for support to help keep communities safe. This year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been fortunate to receive assistance from other Canadian provinces and territories, Parks Canada, Mexico and Australia, and from contractors, industry personnel, First Nations and other key partners here in B.C.

“This year, the Canadian Armed Forces provided personnel and aircraft to help with evacuations, air transport for fire crews and equipment, and firefighting activities. Those personnel have played a significant role in the BC Wildfire Service’s response to the Thomas Creek, Flat Lake and White Rock Lake fires.

“About 300 personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces’ Land Task Force and 55 personnel from the Air Task Force were assigned to help with wildfires in B.C., with about 625 individuals cycling through as part of that ongoing effort. 

“Although there are still over 200 wildfires burning in B.C., weather conditions and fire behaviour have improved dramatically in recent days. Given the current fire situation, we have sufficient resources in place to respond appropriately to current wildfire activity.

“The BC Wildfire Service recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources between jurisdictions. The assistance that the BC Wildfire Service continues to receive from our partners this fire season is greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.”