ENGLISH/ANGLAIS WA2016-0019-02 Corporal Greg Watts, Flight Engineer, observes wildfires near Fort McMurray from a CH-147F Chinook helicopter during the Canadian Armed Forces’ support to the Province of Alberta’s emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCpl Brandon O'Connell, 3 CDN DIV PA Copyright Notice © 2016 DND-MDN Canada

A Royal Canadian Air Force CH-147F Chinook helicopter delivered 8,200 pounds of food, water, and other sundries to Fort McKay First Nation yesterday as part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ ongoing support to the Province of Alberta in responding to the wildfires in Fort McMurray.

It is the first time that the RCAF has operated a CH-147F Chinook helicopter on a domestic humanitarian operation. The aircraft, from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, located in Petawawa, Ontario, joins four CH-146 Griffon helicopters and a CC-130J Hercules aircraft that are supporting relief efforts in the province.

“It brings me great pride to be a part of the first ever employment of the CH-147F Chinook in Canadian domestic humanitarian operations,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Kimpinski, commander of the Air Task Force – Joint Task Force West.

“The helicopter’s role is just another example of how Joint Task Force West is ready and able to help fellow Albertans affected by the wildfires.”

The CH-147F Chinook is part of Joint Task Force West’s Air Task Force, which is working to evacuate people, transport emergency response personnel, conduct search and rescue missions, deliver emergency supplies, and fly reconnaissance and night surveillance missions.

The helicopter is deployed under Operation Lentus, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contingency plan that outlines the joint response to provide support to provincial and territorial authorities in cases of major natural disasters.

The CH-147F Chinook is an advanced, multi-mission, medium- to heavy-lift helicopter. Its primary mission is the tactical transport of equipment and personnel during domestic or deployed operations. The versatility, impressive capacity and extended range of the Chinook make it ideal for operations in Canada’s vast territory and demanding environment.

Update – May 9, 2016

On May 4, 2016, the Province of Alberta requested Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) assistance with their emergency response to the wildfire situation in Fort McMurray.

As of May 9, 2016, the CAF have deployed four CH-146 Griffon helicopters, one CH-147F Chinook helicopter and one CC-130J Hercules and are currently evacuating civilians, delivering medical supplies, conducting search and rescue missions and flying reconnaissance missions to monitor fire-affected areas.

Additional air assets remain on stand-by, ready to assist as required.

As part of our overall response, the CAF is ready to support the Province of Alberta, as required, in areas including:

  • The provision of air assets to assist with the evacuation of persons in distress and individuals in affected and isolated areas;
  • The provision of air assets to assist with the delivery of essential aid to affected areas; and
  • The provision of air assets to assist with transport of essential firefighting equipment and personnel to, from, and within the affected area.

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