Wildfires in British Columbia Interior begin to exact economic toll

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The wildfires spine-tingling through British Columbia’s Interior are beginning to exact an economic penalty, forcing companies in the forestry and mining sectors to scale back or fasten operations altogether.

«We saw a really, really bad fire issue in 2003 in the sector, but nothing this widespread,» said Greg Munden, president of Munden Risks Ltd. The log hauling and harvesting company shut down harvesting operations two weeks ago.

Yon 30 to 40 logging companies spanning from Merritt, B.C., to not too hundred kilometres north in Williams Lake have also bolt down harvesting operations, Munden said.

As of Monday morning, most areas ceased drag operations as well, while some companies stopped work at their mills, he combined.

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. closed its 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm, B.C., getting ones hands as of the afternoon of Sunday, July 9, according to a statement.

The company’s shop near active fires «have staff and resources that are being deployed to foster our facilities and the community,» the statement said.

Norbord Inc. says it has shut down its wood panel masticate, also in 100 Mile House, and it’s assessing what impact the give someone the axes will have on its production schedule.

The company says all of the mill’s wage-earners safely left the area, with no reported injuries, and the site was hypothecate at the time of the evacuation.

Tolko Industries Ltd. said on its Facebook page that its two Williams Lake getting ones hands, the Lakeview and Soda Creek mills, would not open Monday and executives would meet daily to determine whether to open going well-developed.

Meanwhile, in the mining industry, Imperial Metals Corp.  said it significantly belittled operations at the Mount Polley open pit copper and gold mine in the Williams Lake size.

Imperial Metals says many of the roads used to access the position have been closed and if critical supplies such as fuel are no longer elbow, the mine may suspend operations altogether.

Currently, neither the local communities nor the headache can expect to feel a significant economic impact, said Harry Nelson, an confidante professor at the University of British Columbia.

A company like West Fraser, for benchmark, can ramp up production at its other locations to mitigate losses from the proximate site, said Nelson, who teaches in the department of forest resource directors.

If the fires continue to grow, however, it can get more difficult to make up wrecked production, he said.

«I think we’re still aways from that, sanguinely.»

If companies start losing buildings, like mills, to the fires, Nelson said, neighbourhood pub communities could feel the brunt of the fallout if a producer chooses not to rebuild in the extent.

Nelson pointed to a Tolko Industries sawmill in Louis Creek, B.C., that was terminated in a 2003 fire. The company chose not to rebuild, citing economic strengths at play at the time.

The fire appears to be within a couple kilometres of the Norbord basic, wrote Paul C. Quinn, an RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst, in a note. He enlarged it’s assumed business interruption and commercial insurance would cover latent losses, which could include roughly $140 million to $145 million to supplant the mill.

In 2003, wildfires in the province cost the B.C. economy $1.3 billion in unbroken fire suppression costs and indirect economic losses, according to a analysis by the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

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