Forest Fires Force West Fraser to Suspend Operations in Slave Lake

Monday morning in Slave Lake: 7th Ave. SE & 10th St. behind police station. Photo Credit: Chris Coult,

May 16, 2011 - West Fraser has suspended operations at its facilities in Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada due to forest fires in the region.

West Fraser said that forest fires have caused substantial damage to Slave Lake the surrounding area, but the company's two operations in the area — Slave Lake Pulp and Slave Lake Veneer — have so far escaped damage.

In a written statement, West Fraser said, "Both facilities have suspended operations and are being manned by emergency crews only. Although neither facility is currently threatened, the situation remains extremely hazardous. West Fraser is currently seeking to assist the Red Cross and provincial authorities in relief efforts and is establishing communications alternatives for its employees, most of whom have been evacuated from the immediate area."

Low humidity, warm temperatures and dry ground have created perfect conditions for fast-moving wildfires, say province officials.

The province says about 90 percent of Slave Lake's residents have been evacuated, and only essential staff, including firefighters, remain in the town.

West Fraser is an integrated wood products company producing lumber, wood chips, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp and newsprint. The Company has operations in western Canada and the southern United States.

SOURCE: West Fraser