On August 2,
2003, with forest fires burning all over the province, the
Government of British Columbia declared a state of
emergency; the next day, it requested military assistance,
and Operation PEREGRINE was launched. At the height of the
crisis, about 800 fires were burning in B.C. and tens of
thousands of people had been ordered out of their homes.
Eventually more than 2,200 Canadian Forces personnel were
involved in fighting five of the worst fires, at
Barriere-McLure, Okanagan Mountain Park, Vaseux Lake,
McGillivray and Kuskanook.
They extinguished “hot-spots” – underground fires fed by
fuel sources such as tree roots – to stabilize less active
areas of the fire zone, and worked behind the lines to
deliver medical, administrative and logistics services. They
also sometimes joined the civilian firefighters in the front
line to subdue emerging and unstable fires.
Operation PEREGRINE lasted 45 days and involved more than
2,600 soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel (including
about 900 Reservists). It was the CF’s third-largest recent
domestic operation, after the 1998 ice storm (Operation
RECUPERATION) and the 1997 Red River flood (Operation
Highlanders served as part of Op PEREGRINE.
Master Corporal MacKillop
Master Corporal Waddell
Additional photos below courtesy of Private Cody Martin
Master Corporal Krista Waddell and Master Corporal Mike
MacKillop in the
back of an HLVW (Heavy Logistics Vehicle
Wheeled) in BC.
Note the smoke from the fires in the
From left to right;
Private Stiff, Private Waye, Private Barlow, Private Martin
of the Calgary Highlanders and Private
Whitehall of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Private Josh Morris
(right) with Master Corporal Waddell, showing the haze from the fires
in the background. Town of Kelowna is