UPDATE – Provincial State Of Emergency Declared Over Wildfires – Military Response In Merritt and Kelowna

Victoria -UPDATE – From Maritime Forces Pacific – Update on the Joint Task Force Pacific Response to the B.C. Wildfire Situation

Starting August 13th, when the Request for Assistance from the Province of B.C. was received, the 3rd Canadian Division has deployed a team to conduct liaison and coordination with Joint Task Force Pacific (JTFP) and the B.C. Wildfire Service. This was followed by the Land Task Force (LTF) reconnaissance party of 13 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to establish the reception location for arriving troops and to determine where CAF personnel could best assist.

The first wave of soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), from 3rd Canadian Division departed Edmonton, Alberta on the morning of August 15th. The group deployed with dozens of support vehicles consisting of medium and heavy transportation trucks, ambulances, maintenance and utility vehicles and will begin to arrive in the Kelowna area around noon tomorrow.

A second group of Edmonton-based troops will depart on August 16th. The total number of CAF members deployed to B.C. will reach approximately 170 by nightfall that same day. The CAF will stage from Kelowna and another location in Merritt.

This Land Task Force is comprised of 100 soldiers conducting mop-up fire line tasks. This team also includes the personnel needed for command, control and integral sustainment of CAF operations. The first firefighting area where CAF will be supporting the British Columbia Wildlife Service is at the Gottfriedson Mountain Fire.

Joint Task Force Pacific, commanded by Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, is responsible for the conduct of military operations in B.C. during Operation LENTUS, in support of Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) and the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The CAF is committed to ensuring a strong and continuous coordination with the Province of B.C., other government departments and agencies, as we work together to help British Columbians during this domestic emergency. We are here to help, and encourage the public to follow the instructions from the Province of B.C. and the B.C. Wildfire Service.

ORIGINAL STORY – The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of emergency to support the provincewide response to the ongoing wildfire situation.

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, made the declaration based on the recommendation from B.C.’s wildfire and emergency management officials.

The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, once issued, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary. The state of emergency applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public, which remains the provincial government’s top priority.

The state of emergency gives agencies, such as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Emergency Management BC, the fire commissioner and the RCMP, the authority to take every action necessary to fight the wildfires and protect people and communities.

FYI

  • Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act.
  • The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible, for further periods of time.
  • During the 2017 wildfire season, the Province was in a provincial state of emergency for 10 weeks, from July 7 to Sept. 15.
  • The last provincial declaration of state of emergency before the 2017 wildfire season was issued in August 2003, to deal with wildfires.

For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit Emergency Info BC: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

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