Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 20, 2011 11:49 ET

Minister Clement And MP Rickford Meet With Northern Ontario Residents Threatened by Wildfires

DRYDEN, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 20, 2011) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, and Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora and Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal Affairs, were in Dryden today to meet with members of communities recently affected by wildfires.

"The people of Deer Lake, Cat Lake, Fort Hope, Sandy Lake and Keewaywin can rest assured that our Government is working closely with the province and affected communities to keep them safe," said Minister Clement. "Our goal is to help them return to a normal life as quickly as possible."

To date this month, the Canadian Forces have supported municipal and provincial authorities in Ontario in evacuating 1,896 residents threatened by wildfires.

"The members of our Canadian Forces are always ready to react at a moment's notice to emergencies here at home, when and if called upon," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "These evacuation operations, led by Canada Command, are a telling example of the drive, dedication and determination of our men and women in uniform. Their professionalism in the face of peril is a true testament to their ongoing commitment to help Canadians who are in need."

Under the direction of Canada Command, the Canadian Forces have provided airlift using CC-130 Hercules military transport aircraft tasked from 8 Wing Trenton and 17 Wing Winnipeg. Since Monday evening, 386 additional people were evacuated from Sandy Lake and were brought to Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. Also, 123 people were evacuated from Keewaywin to Greenstone (Geraldton). Canadian Forces aircraft are currently involved in evacuating individuals from Sandy Lake.

"The men and women of Canadian Forces' Canada Command are working around the clock to assist our provincial partners in helping the people of northern Ontario affected by the fires," said Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command. "At Canada Command we remain focused on the safety and security of Canadians at all times."

Canada Command is continuing to monitor the current forest fire situation in the northern Ontario and remains prepared to support communities at risk of being affected by smoke or threatened by fire.

Notes to editor / news director: Still and video imagery of evacuation operations can be found at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca.

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