West Fraser is shutting down its B.C. sawmills for the week of March 30, citing market conditions and government restrictions on movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province-wide closure is “a result of the continuing proliferation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of mandatory and recommended government restrictions on movement, travel, work and trade that are impacting our operations and creating uncertainty in the demand for forest products,” West Fraser vice-president Chris Virostek said in a statement.
The move is expected to remove an additional 24 million board feet of production for the week, on top of reduced production announced on March 19. That announcement included suspension of production at the company’s Quesnel plywood mill until at least April 6, and reduced lumber production across its western Canada sawmill of about 18 per cent.
Production at West Fraser’s southern U.S sawmills is also reduced by about 24 per cent through shift reductions and curtailments, also until at least April 6.
West Fraser’s B.C. operations include Pacific Inland Resources in Smithers, Cariboo Pulp and Paper, 100 Mile Lumber, Williams Lake Lumber, Williams Lake Plywood, Fraser Lake Sawmills, Chetwynd Forest Industries and plywood, sawmill and pulp operations in Quesnel.