Canada Task Force 2, firefighters deployed to Fort McMurray fire from Calgary
50 volunteers head to the Wood Buffalo area bringing supplies and expertise
Canada Task Force 2 has been deployed from Calgary to help firefighting efforts in Fort McMurray, says Calgary Emergency Management Agency chief Tom Sampson.
Fifty people left Calgary Wednesday afternoon for the Wood Buffalo area, bringing with them supplies and a vast range of expertise.
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"This is the day when we get to pull it out," Sampson said.
He says the deployment is unprecedented.
"We are loading our full load," he said.
"To my recollection, I don't think we have ever gone out with our full complement of equipment, but we are taking everything including the kitchen sink."
Among the group heading north is a 24-member incident management team with volunteers with a variety of backgrounds.
"We have got emergency physicians who are currently loading trailers, we have paramedics that are helping out with our logistics work, we have firefighters who are talking on command roles," Sampson said.
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He says they expect to arrive on scene later Wednesday and be ready to help early Thursday.
They have enough supplies to last 10 days with a plan for restocking in place from Edmonton and Calgary.
Canada Task Force 2 has about 130 volunteers from across the province, each with two critical rescue based skills.
They will work in two shifts supporting and helping crews already on the ground.
"These are resourceful people behind me," Sampson said.
"They will figure out how to make it work."
The wildfire prompted the province to declare a provincial state of emergency on Wednesday afternoon.
Firefighters dispatched late Wednesday
Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth says they got the call today.
"There are 29 Calgary firefighters on their way up to Fort McMurray. They will be leaving shortly and on the ground at 8 a.m. We are sending three of our engines, a rescue truck, a couple of district chiefs, a deputy chief and some mechanics with a vehicle servicing truck," Dongworth explained.
He said they have been on standby waiting for the call.
"We have been ready to do this for over 24 hours and we were just waiting for the nod. We are not about to self-dispatch as many agencies have."