Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal
An aerial view of the Northland Forest Products lumber mill, north of Fort McMurray on June 20, 2013.
The multi-billion-dollar oilsands facilities around Fort McMurray weren’t the only large industrial operations at risk when wildfires tore through the region over the past week.
Alberta’s $4 billion forest products industry also felt the heat, quite literally.
Two industry players in particular — Fort McMurray-based Northland Forest Products, a big sawmill operator, and Boyle-based Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, one of Canada’s top pulp producers— suffered unspecified losses to timberlands that will take months to quantify.
Company officials with both firms say they’ll start assessing the extent of the fire damage in coming weeks, once smoke from the blaze, which now covers an estimated 220,000 hectares, starts to clear.
“As far as we know our homes are okay, but we haven’t had any information since Thursday or Friday so we really don’t know what’s going on,” says Howard Ewashko, who co-owns Northland with his brother Craig and also lives on the same street in Fort McMurray.