Yesterday, the Canadian Forces completed a 24-hour operation to evacuate the remaining residents of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake in Northern Saskatchewan, after wildfires in the area were threatening their safety. This operation was undertaken at the request of the Government of Saskatchewan.
On June 1, Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, commander of Canada Command, quickly deployed four CC-130 Hercules aircraft and four CH-146 Griffon helicopters in response to the threat to life emergency. These aircraft and their crews assisted in the evacuation of approximately 540 residents out of the danger zone. Helicopters took residents to Points North overnight where Hercules aircraft were standing by this morning to fly them to Saskatoon. Civil authorities have set up facilities to host them in Saskatoon.
“The men and women of the Canadian Forces are committed to assisting Canadians whenever and wherever disaster strikes," said Defence Minister Peter MacKay "I'm proud that the people of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake were evacuated in a timely and safe manner thanks to the quick actions of the Canadian Forces."
Canadian Forces assets deployed during this operation included:
- Approximately 52 personnel, primarily ground and air crews
- Two CC-130 Hercules from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron and 426 Transport Training Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.
- A CC-130J Hercules from 436 Transport Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.
- A CC-130 Hercules from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 17 Wing Winnipeg, Man.
- Three CH-146 Griffon helicopters from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton, Alta.
- One CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 417 Combat Support Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta.
“The Canadian Forces is always ready to provide its unique capabilities in service of our fellow Canadians in their times of need” said LGen Semianiw, “I am proud of the speed and efficiency displayed by all personnel involved in this important mission.”
“It was an honour to be part of this coordinated response that came together so quickly to help residents in Northern Saskatchewan,” said Major-General Yvan Blondin, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region in Winnipeg. “This rapid response is a testament to the outstanding professionalism of Canadian Forces personnel and their ability to respond in times of need.”