Fires Affect Canadian Lumber Mills, Get Close to Kinder Pipeline – by Natalie Obiko Pearson, Danielle Bochove and Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg News – July 11, 2017)

More than 300 wildfires in British Columbia have forced Canadian lumber mills to shut as hot, dry weather sparked blazes across swaths of western Canada and the U.S. Norbord Inc., the largest North American producer of oriented strand board used in residential construction, suspended production at its mill in 100 Mile House in central B.C. but stressed that, for now, the mill is safe.

“We were in a zone that got evacuated Sunday night so we shut the mill down and that continues to be the situation,” Norbord Chief Financial Officer Robin Lampard said by phone Tuesday morning. The Toronto-based company has 440 million square feet of annual production capacity. It hasn’t disclosed the cost per day of the shutdown, Lampard said.

Canfor Corp.’s operations aren’t directly affected by the wildfires, spokeswoman Corinne Stavness said in an email Tuesday. Interfor Corp. couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

On Monday, West Fraser Timber Co., one of Canada’s largest lumber producers backed by billionaire Jim Pattison, said it shut three locations in B.C. — 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm.

West Fraser said it’s uncertain how long the operations will be suspended and is unable to assess the impact on lumber and plywood production. The facilities represent annual production capacity of 800 million board feet of lumber and 270 million square feet of plywood. The company couldn’t be immediately reached early Tuesday.

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