North America’s Largest Woodworking Event | Tuesday–Friday | August 6–9, 2024

#IWFmorefor24

Industry & Trends

Forest Wildfire Smoke Signals Bigger Issues for Lumber Industry

Smoke from those Canadian forest wildfires is not only wreaking havoc with outdoor activities in the U.S. but also driving up lumber prices and shutting down sawmills north of the border.

The fires were an inconvenience and health hazard to those going outside and even resulted in some Major League Baseball games being canceled but to the lumber and timber industry, the consequences are much more serious…and longer lasting.

The wildfires that started in Canada this spring and have continued into the summer months have consumed an estimated 4 million hectares – about 1% – of the country’s forest land, according to the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). The fires have closed sawmills around the country and driven up prices, Reuters reports, adding that they have backed up production cycles for months. Chicago lumber futures for July delivery have climbed 7% since June 1, it said.

The news service reported that “Canada has the world’s third-largest forest area and is the second-largest softwood lumber producer, according to Canadian government estimates.”

Paul Quinn, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters that while forest fires are partly a natural phenomenon and can clear out areas and foster new growth, “Big blazes can also reduce timber supply for the long term. Wildfires can temporarily boost lumber prices as supplies are constrained and buyers increase inventories, although prices tend to revert later in the year,“ Reuters reported him saying.

The fires, which began in the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, are now spreading east to Quebec according to FPAC head Derek Nighbor. “It’s significant,” he told Reuters. “Closing mills and having to restart them is a lot of work and that’s people who have to be laid off temporarily.” Nighbor did not have an overall estimate of lost production.

“Long-term damage to forests will require up to eight weeks to assess once the fires abate,” he said. “Is there anything that’s salvageable? Is it younger trees that have been taken out or is it 60-to-80-year-old trees, because that will impact future operations.”

BACK TO NEWS

More Industry & Trend News

  • Words on Wood Podcast Returns for Fourth Season

    February 14, 2024

  • The Pine Tree State Gets Its First Mass Timber Buildings

    February 14, 2024

  • New York City New Building Filings Hit Record High

    February 14, 2024

Register to Attend

Be part of North America’s largest woodworking show and conference.

Register Now

Apply to Exhibit

Grow your business at the premier global woodworking trade show.

Exhibit at IWF 2024

Show Hours & Location

International Woodworking Fair
Tuesday–Friday
August 6–9, 2024

Tuesday–Thursday
8:30 AM–5:00 PM
Friday
8:30 AM–2:00 PM

Georgia World Congress Center
285 Andrew Young International Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30313

Get Industry News & IWF Updates

Subscribe to IWF Network News.

Subscribe Now

Terms & Privacy Policy

© 2020 International Woodworking Fair, LLC Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

3520 Piedmont Rd NE #350, Atlanta GA 30305 | (404) 693-8333

IWF 2024 Add to Calendar

Sync IWF 2024 with your favorite calendar program.

Notification Message

loading … please wait