Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 14, 2011 15:35 ET

The Government of Canada Completes Evacuation of Residents Threatened by Wildfires in Ontario

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2011) - The Government of Canada, through the work of the Canadian Forces, evacuated 125 residents of Cat Lake First Nation, Ontario, overnight, after wildfires in the area were threatening their welfare. This operation was undertaken at the request of the Government of Ontario.

"This operation, led by Canada Command, is an excellent demonstration of how the Canadian Forces react swiftly to requests from provincial authorities when Canadians are in danger, said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. Canadians can rest assured that the Canadian Forces is constantly at the ready to respond with little warning or no warning to emergencies here at home, when and if, the call comes".

Within an hour of the province's request for airlift support, two CC-130 Hercules; one from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 17 Wing Winnipeg and one from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 8 Wing Trenton, were en route to the affected community. Less than three hours later, all the residents identified as a priority for evacuation by local authorities were safely on the ground in Kapuskasing, Ontario.

"I am extremely proud of the professionalism displayed by our personnel who constantly give their all in service to their fellow Canadians," said Major-General Alain Parent, who just yesterday assumed command of 1 Canadian Air Division and serves as Canada Command's Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC).

The past three air evacuations supported by the Canadian Forces were coordinated by the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg.

Notes to editor / news director: Still and video imagery of this evacuation operation can be found at: Search word: CATLAKE11

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