Interfor expects sawmill disruptions

Wildfires in Western Canada, along with log supply issues, could result in a reduction of 50 million board feet in August.
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Softwood lumber producer Interfor announced that it is expecting production disruptions at its British Columbia Interior sawmills during the third quarter of 2021.

The forest products company, with operations in the Canda and the United States, attributed the hurdles to the ongoing impacts of wildfires and other factors on log supply. 

“The wildfires in the B.C. Interior and the related provincial state of emergency and government-mandated curtailment of all forest harvesting activities are expected to have a significant impact on Interfor’s operations in the next several weeks or more,” said Andrew Horahan, senior vice president of western operations at Interfor “This is an active situation, and we are closely monitoring the implications for our operations.”

Horahan noted that Interfor is doing what it can to lend a hand, working cooperatively with the provincial wildfire service and local communities to support the firefighting efforts. 

At this time there are over 230 Interfor staff and contractors and over 90 pieces of contractor-owned heavy equipment dedicated to assisting the B.C. Wildfire Service, Horahan said.

Interfor expects to curtail a minimum of 50 million board feet of production across its B.C. Interior operations in August, with the possibility of further downtime in September and beyond, depending on evolving weather conditions. ‘

The latest forecasts from the B.C. Wildfire Service indicate a strong likelihood of warmer and drier than normal conditions persisting across much of B.C. over the remainder of the summer and early fall. 

Over the past twelve months Interfor’s B.C. Interior operations produced approximately 725 million board feet of lumber, representing about 26% of the company’s total production. 

Interfor is also monitoring the evolving wildfire situation in the U.S. Northwest and related impacts on log supply to its operations in Washington and Oregon. 

Currently, there are no immediate threats to Interfor’s employees or its operations, but the latest forecasts indicate that drier than usual weather is expected to be predominant over the region for August through October, the company said.

Canfor announced similar moves earlier this month, including the curtailment of sawmill operations.

Based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Interfor has an annual production capacity of approximately 3.9 billion board feet and offers a diverse line of lumber products.

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