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

B.C. BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

B.C. BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Nuxalk teams enjoy successful standings in 59th All Native Tournament

After seven days of non-stop basketball, the All Native Tournament came to a thrilling finish

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

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.

Hydaburg makes it three in a row

Hydaburg came back from 10 points down in the second half to beat Aiyansh

Kitkatla end 54 year drought with title win

The Warriors defeated Hydaburg 70-67 in overtime to win the 2018 All Native Tournament title

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

BC Budget: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B housing investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

B.C. BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

B.C. BUDGET: Surpluses predicted for three years

Tax revenues up, ICBC losses weigh heavily on provincial books

Parts of B.C. see record-breaking temperatures in cold snap

Sechelt, Yoho National Park were the chilliest ever Monday

Most Read