A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-147F Chinook helicopter delivered 8,200 pounds of food, water, and other sundries to Fort McKay First Nation on 8 May as part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ ongoing support to the Province of Alberta in responding to the wildfires in Fort McMurray. This marked 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, was supporting relief efforts in the province alongside four CH-146 Griffon helicopters and a CC-130J Hercules plane.
“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 Lt Col 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 RCAF explained that the CH-147F Chinook was part of Joint Task Force West’s Air Task Force, which was 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 was 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.