Skip to content

CAF are staying in the Lakes District Secondary School

Major Frederik Guay and his troops are fighting the wildfires with BCWS firefighters
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Burns-Lake_2
Military vehicles parked at the parking lot of Lakes District Secondary School at Burns Lake on July 25. Major Frederik Guay is the commanding officer at Burns Lake operation centre (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)

The Canadian Armed Force (CAF) are very experienced in domestic operations and has been providing support to Canadians during times of natural disaster for many years now.

On July 14, the Minister of Emergency Preparedness approved a Request For Assistance from the Province of B.C. to assist fighting the wildfires and Canadian Armed Forces are deployed to assist B.C. Wildfire Service and local firefighters fight the wildfires.

Major Frederik Guay is the commanding officer at the Burns Lake operations centre who came with 70 troops from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment of Edmonton Garrison came on July 20 to serve on Operation LENTUS [the Canadian Armed Forces operation for natural disasters]. Their whole staff includes headquarters staff, service and support personnel, and engineers assigned to assist B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) directly in the field.

When asked about dealing with wildfires, Major Guay said, “No, this is my first time assisting with wildfires.” He said, he has been deployed on Operation LENTUS before, but it was for floods.

He is impressed by his troop’s dedication and morale to assist firefighters for containing blazes in this region. “It’s hard work, they’re on task and they are doing it well,” he said.

Major Guay said, “I recall 1 CER personnel from Edmonton deploying to provide assistance during the Saskatchewan wildfires in 2017.”

The soldiers assigned to support BCWS have received S-100 Fire Suppression training. The training has proved invaluable by enabling soldiers to perform essential duties such as sweeping the forest, looking for hot-spots before they can spread and by providing hose work for cooling to prevent fires from starting or reigniting. By completing these ‘Type 3’ fire mitigation duties, BCWS firefighters are freed up to directly attack wildfires in other areas.

The main focus of CAF right now is to assist B.C. Wildfire Service and contain the Tintagel wildfire. He said, when they first arrived here, they worked alongside the Vesta Unit Crews, firefighters out of Williams Lake. Then they started supporting two crews of American “Hotshots” - the “Sawtooth” crew from Idaho and the “Truckee” from California.

His troops also worked under the direction of Spencer Gregory, a wildfire division commander out of Oregon, U.S.A. ”It was a pleasure working with all these professionals,” he said.

He said the Lakes District Secondary School’s accommodation is more than adequate to sustain and the scenery is great. “Burns Lake is a great town with lots of beautiful scenery. We have everything we need to be successful.”

Since his stay in Burns Lake, he believes as a CAF member, one of the primary mandates is to assist Canadians during times of natural disaster. He also said, morale is always elevated when we help the folks at home. For some on the task force, B.C. is their home province, so coming home to help out carries a great deal of personal pride and significance to it.

To Canadians, Major Guay said, “It is always a pleasure to serve the people of Canada. We are here now, and we will always go where we are needed when asked.”

How long the CAF will stay in Burns Lake is unknown at this time.

33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Burns-Lake_3
Military vehicles parked at the parking lot of Lakes District Secondary School at Burns Lake on July 25. Major Frederik Guay is the commanding officer at Burns Lake operation centre (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Forrest-Sweeping_1
Canadian Armed Forces walking into the forest and inspecting their surroundings on their routine ground sweeping activity and looking for ‘Type 3’ wildfire hot-spots Augier Road, Tintagel on July 26 (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Forrest-Sweeping_2
Canadian Armed Forces inspecting tree debris for burnt and ‘Type 3’ hot-spots on his regular routine ground sweeping on Augier Road, Tintagel on July 26 (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Forrest-Sweeping_3
Lieutenant (Navy) Kevin Moffat having a conversation with one of the Canadian Armed Force troop while walking into the forest to do their regular routine ground sweeping and looking for ‘Type 3’ wildfire hot-spots at Augier Road, Tintagel on July 26 (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Forrest-Sweeping_4
Canadian Armed Forces resting and having lunch breaks after ground sweeping the forest for ‘Type 3’ wildfire hot-spots Augier Road, Tintagel on July 26 (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Forrest-Sweeping_5
Canadian Armed Forces walking into the forest to do their regular routine ground sweeping and looking for ‘Type 3’ wildfire hot-spots Augier Road, Tintagel on July 26 (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)
33428063_web1_230802-LDN-CAF-Forrest-Sweeping_6
Canadian Armed Forces are assisted by Vancouver firefighters on their regular routine ground sweeping and looking for ‘Type 3’ wildfire hot-spots Augier Road, Tintagel on July 26 (Saddman Zaman photos/ Lakes District)