Chinook helicopter heads to B.C. Interior fire zone carrying fire vehicle from CFB Comox. (MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

Soldiers from Edmonton head for fire zone

225 army members, vehicles on way to Williams Lake

Canadian Forces soldiers and vehicles are on their way from Edmonton to Williams Lake today, to help RCMP and firefighters manage the wildfire situation in the B.C. Interior.

Army troops are being added to the Royal Canadian Air Force contingent from CFB Comox already helping with operations, using helicopters and cargo aircraft to move equipment to and from fire zones.

The soldiers, passing through Prince George and expected to set up a base in Williams Lake Thursday, are to provide and assistance with traffic movements and support the 500 RCMP officers on the ground in B.C. for fire duty.

The soldiers will be mostly unarmed, said Rear Admiral Art McDonald, in charge of deployment. They are travelling in more than 60 vehicles, including 10 light armoured vehicles designed for rugged terrain.

They are members of the Third Canadian Division Edmonton garrison, the closest army base to B.C.

“Members of the Joint Task Force Pacific land task force … will not be conducting law enforcement activities and will not be armed,” McDonald said. “However, some Canadian Armed Forces personnel will have weapons to protect our personnel from predatory animals when they are not able to deter those animals by other means and without causing them any harm.”

RCMP assistant commissioner Eric Stubbs said the soldiers will be guided by RCMP in fire zones to assist with evacuations, re-entry and security of evacuated areas, freeing up RCMP officers for core policing duties.

Since the provincial state of emergency was declared July 7, CFB Comox has deployed CC177 Globemaster and CC130J Hercules cargo aircraft, three CH146 Griffin helicopters, and two CH147 Chinook helicopters operating out of Kamloops airport.

They have flown 37 missions as of Thursday in support of firefighting operations.

Just Posted

Air quality advisory in effect for Terrace

People with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

Mills Memorial Hospital financing formula released

Regional taxpayers to pay $113.7 million for new facility.

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

How the provincial budget will play out in northwestern B.C.

Price of gasoline to rise and expect MSP premiums to disppear

NDP budget offers no way to pay for new programs: Ellis Ross

MLA highly critical of government’s abandonment of major projects

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

BCHL Today: Merritt’s Buckley nets scholarship and Vees slam Salmon Arm

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Crowns asks for more time in Victoria double murder of young sisters

Andrew Berry’s next court appearance will be in three weeks to set a date for trial to begin

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Women’s ice hockey team loses first Olympic game in 20 years

Team Canada added two silvers and a bronze to their total

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Most Read