The Elko sawmill is part of the province-wide Canfor sawmill shutdowns. File Photo

Canfor trims lumber production due to BC wildfires

The company has announced it is reducing lumber production by 115 million board feet due to supply chain disruptions

Canfor has announced it will be cutting production by 115 million board feet in British Columbia for the quarter as a result of ongoing wildfires burning across the province.

“The wildfires burning in Western Canada are significantly impacting the supply chain and our ability to transport product to market,” said Canfor executive, Stephen Mackie.

“As a result, we are implementing short-term production curtailments at our Canadian sawmills beginning July 26.”

The Canfor sawmills in Elko and Radium Hot Springs will be included in the production cut, with Elko’s operations curtailed for a week, and Radium Hot Springs for two weeks starting on July 26.

According to Mackie, the company was developing site specific plans to minimize the impact of the curtailment on employees and contractors.

Production will be reduced by approximately 115 million board feet across its Western Canada sawmills for the July-September quarter. In the first quarter of 2021 (January – March), the company reported it produced 1.47 billion board feet of lumber across its Canadian, American and European operations. Numbers from the second quarter (April – June) are yet to be released.

The company operates 10 sawmills in British Columbia, including three in the Kootenays – Elko, Radium Hot Springs and Wynndel. Wynndel is not affected by the production curtailment.

No sawmills are at risk due to the wildfires, with the production curtailment solely due to supply chain disruptions.

Another local employer – Teck Resources – has also been affected by the wildfires, with the company announcing it would be reducing its sales forecast (but not production numbers) for the quarter for similar reasons.

In a July 6 release Teck said that it would be reducing its sales guidances for steel-making coal by 300,000-500,000 tonnes due to disruptions to rail links between its mines in the Elk Valley, and its export terminals in the Lower Mainland.

A wildfire which began on June 30 near Lytton is the cause of the disruption, destroying the town in southern BC, killing two and triggering the evacuation of over a thousand residents.

As a result of the fire, which damaged the rail links through the town, Teck was re-directing shipments of coal to Prince Rupert as of last week. No Teck sites are directly affected by wildfires at this time.

There are currently 295 active wildfires across the province, of which almost 70 percent of them are believed to have been caused by lightning. (5.8 percent have been caused by human activity, while another 25.8 percent have unknown causes).

90 of the current 295 fires being monitored by provincial fire authorities are regarded as out of control.

Overall, there have been 1,163 wildfires recorded in the province in 2021.

READ MORE: Teck shaves coal sales guidances due to wildfire disruptions
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