Air Canada and Airlink fly Team Rubicon volunteers to devastated community in British Columbia

Airlink is pleased to partner with Air Canada and the Air Canada Foundation to provide travel to Team Rubicon Canada volunteers. The flights will benefit potentially 30 volunteers traveling to British Columbia to help local families, including Indigenous communities, with clean-up and recovery operations after recent wildfires in Lytton. Volunteers flying into Kamloops Airport over several weeks will assist community members in removing and disposing of damaged infrastructure, collecting personal belongings from ashes, and preparing homes for rebuilding.

British Columbia has experienced 1,453 wildfires in 2021, with 262 wildfires currently active in the province. The unprecedented scale and scope of these wildfires in British Columbia have required inter-provincial and international assistance. The Team Rubicon volunteers, also known as “greyshirts,” are responding to a direct request from the local government for their specialized response capabilities, drawing on their experience in responding to the Ft. McMurray Wildfires in Alberta in 2016. Their initial team formed the core Emergency Operations Centre, working closely with the Chief Administrative Officer and Recovery Manager as well as Lytton’s Mayor and Council.

The first wave of 17 Team Rubicon volunteers traveled from various locations across Canada and new waves will follow weekly.

The Lytton Creek wildfire began on June 30, 2021, just south of the village of Lytton in British Columbia, Canada. The fire moved upward at a speed of up to 20 kilometers per hour, exploding several propane tanks upon moving into Lytton. Residents were evacuated within minutes without time to collect belongings. The village’s 250 residents, as well as 1,500-2,000 First Nations residents in the area, were heavily impacted by the wildfire’s damage.

Air Canada has been a partner of Airlink for several years. This latest mission is the largest donation of flights to an Airlink NGO partner from Air Canada and the Air Canada Foundation for a single program to date.