Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 07, 2011 18:06 ET

The Canadian Forces Complete Evacuation of Residents Threatened by Wildfires in Ontario

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 7, 2011) - The men and women of the Canadian Forces successfully completed the evacuation of residents from the Deer Lake First Nations Community, after wildfires in the area threatened their safety. This major rescue operation, which was completed within 24 hours, was undertaken at the request of the Government of Ontario.

"The men and women of the Canadian Forces are continuously demonstrating their dedication and excellence at home, whenever and wherever disaster strikes," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "I'm proud that the people of Deer Lake were evacuated in a timely and safe manner thanks to the quick reaction of the Canadian Forces."

"Canadians can count on our government to respond quickly and efficiently to any emergency situation" said the Honourable Vic Toews, Canada's Minister for Public Safety. "We are ready to provide any additional emergency assistance that may be requested by the Ontario government."

On the evening of July 6, Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command, quickly deployed two CC-130 Hercules aircraft from Winnipeg in response to this life-threatening emergency. Working through the night, the rescue crews assisted in the evacuation of approximately 510 residents from the danger zone, in collaboration with provincial and local authorities. Evacuees were flown to Greenstone, near Geraldton, ON.

"Canada Command is always ready to quickly provide the unique capabilities of the Canadian Forces in service of our fellow Canadians in their times of need, wherever they might live across the great expanse of Canada," said Lieutenant-General Semianiw, "I am proud of the speed and efficiency displayed by all personnel involved in this important mission."

"Our airmen and airwomen are always ready to respond in times of need," said Brigadier-General Gord Reid, Acting Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division. "The members of 435 Squadron flew through the night to ensure residents of Deer Lake could be evacuated to safety and I'm proud of their constant professionalism."

Notes to editor / news director: Video and still imagery of this evacuation operation, the Whole-of-Government response to wildfires in Deer Lake, can be found at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

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