OSB maker Norbord shuts mill, evacuates workers after fire at High Level, Alta. mill
The fire is not believed to be related to any forest fires currently burning in northern Alberta
TORONTO—Wood panel and oriented strand board producer Norbord Inc. reported that it has experienced a fire at its OSB mill in High Level, Alberta.
The fire is unrelated to the one burning in Fort Mcmurray, Alta., but highlights the challenges facing the region, which has experienced tinder-dry conditions.
The fire broke out in Norbord’s mill yard which, as a result of the hot, dry, windy weather conditions in northern Alberta, quickly spread to the log storage area outside the plant. As a precaution, Norbord immediately suspended production at the mill.
Fire crews, including helicopters, have been on site since the afternoon of May 4 and the fire is currently contained to the log storage area outside. At this time, Norbord is in the process of assessing damage to the mill and the impact to its production schedule.
All non-essential mill employees were safely evacuated and no injuries have been reported.
The High Level, Alberta mill has a stated annual production capacity of 860 million square feet (3/8-inch basis) and has been ramping up towards full production since resuming operations in late 2013.
High Level is located approximately 720 kilometres northwest of Edmonton and 400 kilometres west of Fort McMurray, yet the fire is not believed to be related to any forest fires in the surrounding area.