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

UPDATED: Man dies after struck by vehicle

A man died after being hit by a vehicle in West Kelowna

Your weekend story highlights

Each weekend, we choose top stories from the week for you to enjoy

Chinese pioneers honoured

A sign was unveiled in City Park Saturday to honour the Chinese contributions to Kelowna

Search at Silver Creek property enters third day

A portion of the property has been cordoned off with black landscaping fabric

Corn maze owner deters vandals with cameras

The Kelowna Corn Maze now cameras installed on the property

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Vehicle leaves scene after striking lamp post

After hitting a lamp post on Springfield Road, a vehicle has left the scene

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Raven story shines light at Children’s Showcase

Season opener of the Children’s Showcase in Penticton

Okanagan Taste: Snacks and what to pair with them

Your guide to for the go-to snacks and beverage pairings for sports season

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Tolko pledges to support women in leadership roles

Vernon - Brad Thorlakson, CEO of Tolko Industries, added his name to the Minerva Diversity Pledge

Most Read