Canadian Armed Forces Members on the Ground in BC to Assist with Wildfires

Operation LENTUS

There are almost 600 fires burning across the Province of British Columbia. These fires reach from Vancouver Island in the south up to Telegraph Creek, near the top of the province.

On August 12, 2018, the Province of British Columbia asked the Government of Canada for assistance. On August 13, the Government of Canada accepted the province’s request for assistance.

As of August 23, there are approximately 400 CAF members deployed on Operation LENTUS in BC. This includes members of the land and air task forces, as well as headquarters and support personnel.


On August 15 and 16, approximately 200 soldiers from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group deployed to BC. There are also around 35 reserve force members from 39 Canadian Brigade Group. They are located at the Vernon Cadet Camp and the town of Merritt. Some members may also stage out of Kelowna.

On August 18, CAF members started to conduct fire mop-up activities on the Gottfriedson Mountain fire. This fire has since been downgraded from “being held” to “under control”. The CAF continues to work in the area.

In addition to Gottfriedson, CAF members started to mop-up the Juliet Creek fire on August 21, and Harris Creek on August 23.


On August 16, a small team of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel from 2 Wing Bagotville Airfield Activation Surge Team deployed to Smithers, BC. These logistics, operations, and force protection personnel set up for the air task force.

The air task force includes:

  • 1 CH-124 Sea King helicopter
  • 1 CC-130J Hercules aircraft
  • 1 CH-146 Griffon helicopter

These aircraft are available to:

  • transport firefighting personnel and equipment
  • support medical evacuations
  • move people in remote communities out of harm’s way

The CAF continues to work closely with provincial partners to determine where assets will be sent.

Near Kelowna, BC. August 19, 2018 – Soldiers from numerous reserve force units throughout British Columbia conduct fire suppression duties though an area affected by wildfire, and verify that the area is safe from further flare ups during Operation LENTUS 18-05. (Photo: MCpl Gerald Cormier, 3rd Cdn Div Public Affairs)

CAF response to forest fires, floods, and natural disasters in Canada

Operation LENTUS is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) response to natural disasters in Canada.

Provincial and territorial authorities are the first to respond when a major natural disaster occurs in Canada. If they become overwhelmed, they may ask the CAF for help.  When the CAF responds to such a crisis, it is known as Operation LENTUS.

Operation LENTUS follows an established plan of action to support communities in crisis. This plan can be adapted to multiple situations. These might take the form of forest fires, floods, ice storms, or hurricanes.

The objectives of Op LENTUS are:

  • to help provincial and territorial authorities
  • to respond quickly and effectively to the crisis
  • to stabilize the natural disaster situation

Source: Canadian Armed Forces