B.C. mills suspend operations over wildfires

P&PC Staff
July 12, 2017
By P&PC Staff
Jul. 12, 2017 - Last Friday, Todd Stone, B.C. minister of transportation and infrastructure and minister responsible for emergency management B.C., announced a provincial state of emergency in an effort to ensure a co-ordinated response to the current wildfire situation while promoting public safety.

On July 7 alone, there were 56 wildfire starts throughout the province, and evacuation alerts and orders have been issued multiple locations, including: Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Princeton, 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House.

The extended weather forecast is calling for continued hot, dry weather, with risks of thunderstorms in many parts of the province.

About 30 to 40 logging companies spanning from Merritt, B.C., to several hundred kilometres north in Williams Lake have also shut down harvesting operations, said Greg Munden, president of Munden Ventures Ltd, in a report by The Canadian Press.

West Fraser Timber closed its 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm, B.C., locations as of July 9, according to a company statement. It stated that the company’s mills near active fires “have staff and resources that are being deployed to protect our facilities and the community.”

Meanwhile, Norbord has shut down its 100 Mile House wood panel mill, and says it is assessing what impact the fires will have on its production schedule. According to The Canadian Press, the company says all mill employees safely left the area, with no reported injuries.

On its Facebook page, Tolko Industries said its two Williams Lake locations, the Lakeview and Soda Creek mills, would not open Monday and managers would meet daily to determine whether to open going forward.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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