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Friday, May 13, 2016

OP LENTUS-16-01 Concludes as RCAF Aircraft return from Fort McMurray

CAF military aircraft return from Fort McMurray deployment.

Canadian military aircraft will begin returning to their home bases after provincial authorities in Alberta assessed that they no longer required Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) air assets to support provincial resources in responding to the wildfires in Fort McMurray.

“The Canadian Armed Forces responded swiftly to the call for assistance from the Province of Alberta, providing professional and capable support when Albertans needed it most." said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. "I am extremely proud of our military’s contribution in supporting Albertans, first responders and the Government of Alberta.”

CAF assets and personnel currently in Alberta will begin repositioning to allow for ongoing support to the province if required. Joint Task Force West continues to maintain an Immediate Response Unit of 350 people on heightened readiness in order to support domestic operations, in addition to air assets that will be on standby in Edmonton.

“We are very proud of what our personnel have accomplished over the past nine days," said Brigadier-General Wayne Eyre, Commander Joint Task Force West. "As our first priority, we stand ready to protect our fellow Canadians here at home in their time of need.”

Joint Task Force (JTF) West shipped 124,700 lbs of freight, transported a total of 367 evacuees to safe areas, and transported 173 firefighters in and out of the affected area. During the deployment of personnel and equipment on Operation LENTUS 16-01, the CAF met all of the requests made by provincial authorities, such as assistance to evacuations including those in isolated areas, the delivery of essential aid, and the transportation of essential fire-fighting equipment and personnel to the affected area.

Working from Conklin, Alberta, the Air Task Force conducted one search and rescue mission, eight reconnaissance flights over fire-affected areas and critical infrastructure, and eight night surveillance flights to monitor the status of the fire.

The CAF’s contribution to emergency efforts consisted of four CH-146 Griffon helicopters, one CH-147 Chinook helicopter, and one CC-130J Hercules aircraft. A total of 65 CAF personnel - consisting of aircrew, aircraft maintainers, air movements personnel, liaison officers, and other support staff - were deployed to the region.