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Heavy urban search and rescue team deployed to West Kelowna to assess damage

Canada Task Force 1, a Vancouver-based heavy urban search and rescue team has been deployed to West Kelowna for rapid damage assessments in neighbourhoods hit hard by the McDougall Creek wildfire.

“This group is a powerhouse. They possess technical expertise that we desperately need in a number that will let us get on the ground quickly and safely,” said West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund. “And they do it in a way that they do not put any additional pressure on our community.”

CTF-1 travels with all its own equipment, self-contained accommodations and food and water so it can operate independently in disaster zones.

Team members include firefighters, police, paramedics, engineers and people with other specialized skills.

The initial deployment of 20 team members arrived in West Kelowna on Sunday to immediately begin assessing the situation on the ground to make sure areas are safe before local first responders and government officials can enter.

At this point, there have been no reports of casualties or missing people, but part of CTF-1’s mission will be to search for anyone who did not make it out as the devastating fire swept over the community on Thursday night.

Speaking at a cabinet retreat in Charlottetown, PEI, on Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Incident Response Group, made up of various cabinet members, met Saturday to discuss the wildfire situation across western Canada.

“We’re there with Canadian Armed Forces resources, we’re active in coordinating with regional and local governments to make sure people are safe, to make sure we are doing everything to protect lives and property,” Trudeau said.

He said over the course of the coming days, the IRG and cabinet would be closely monitoring the situation on the ground with an eye to providing more assistance if necessary. Top Stories

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