Canadian Wildfires Threatening Timber, Pipeline, and Mines

July 17, 2017

According to the Canadian Press, as of Sunday, there were 162 wildfires burning, 16 of those started Saturday. In the Williams Lake area, the entire population has been forced out, bringing the number of evacuees in the province to about 40,000.

Wildfires in British Columbia have forced sawmills to shut down and evacuate. Three mills operated by West Fraser Timber Company, Canada's largest forestry company, which collectively produces 800 million board feet of lumber and 270 million square feet of plywood, suspended operations last week.

Norbord, Inc., also suspended operations at its mill in central B.C. Norbord is the largest North American producer of residential oriented strand board with an annual capacity of 440 million square feet of product.

Kinder Morgan Inc, said yesterday it is taking protective measures such as setting up a sprinkler system around its Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline station close to Blackpool, B.C. Trans Mountain carries 300,000 barrels a day.

In Soda Creek and Lakeville, Tolko Industries said its mills will not be operational for the foreseeable future.

Taseko Mines has temporarily idled its Gibraltar open-pit copper mine as the wildfires have hindered employee travel to the site, the company said Monday. The company said they are not sure when milling and mining operations will resume.

Enbridge it has closed a compressor station on its T-South pipeline, which carries natural gas from northern B.C. to the U.S. border. Maintenance work in the affected area also has been halted, while emergency response plans are under way to protect facilities and workers, Enbridge spokesman Jesse Semko said.

Imperial Metals Corp. said operations have been significantly reduced at its open-pit Mount Polley copper and gold mine near Williams Lake because of limited road access.