Canfor closes Vavenby sawmill

Forest fire situation causes forest company to shut down Vavenby division

Canfor announced Sunday morning that it is closing its Vavenby sawmill operation due to the forest fire situation.

In a letter sent to employees and contractors, the forest company noted that an evacuation alert has been issued for the District of Clearwater, with some properties now under an evacuation order. Information on the evacuation alert and order areas is available on the District of Clearwater website – www.districtofclearwater.com.

“While our Vavenby division is not directly impacted by the order and is not in immediate danger from the fire, the vast majority of our Vavenby employees and contractors are impacted by the evacuation alert and need to focus now on their families and their safety by preparing to evacuate the region,” the letter read. “As such, our Vavenby Division is closed and all forestry operations have been suspended, effective immediately. The mill will remain closed until such time as our management team, in cooperation with local authorities, determine it is safe for people to return to work.”

The letter noted that Canfor’s local management team is working to reach every employee and contractor by phone. All Vavenby Division employees and contractors were asked to make direct contact with their supervisor to ensure that they had contact information and could confirm the employees and contractors are aware of the evacuation alert / order and are safe.

Canfor’s management teams are working on plans to protect the mill and secure the site. The company also understood that some employees live outside the evacuation order area and will choose to come to work. Canfor will accommodate any employees who wish to come to work while it remains safe to do so, but wanted to underscore that this is not expected and asked all employees to put their safety first.

“Today, we are focussed on notifying employees and making plans for the mill in light of the closure. We are also working to determine how to support employees during the closure,” the letter read.

“As new information becomes available, we will update employees and contractors directly through their supervisor or contract manager, as well as via social media. Again, please ensure your supervisor has your contact information so we can keep you updated on any new developments as they unfold,” the letter concluded.