Saskatoon

65 employees laid off after Meadow Lake sawmill fire

On Jan. 12, a fire broke out at the Meadow Lake, Sask., sawmill's intake plant, where logs are stripped of their bark. The resulting damage meant that the plant can't process logs and is operating at 25 per cent capacity.

Fire means NorSask Forest Products operating at 25% capacity

A fire at NorSask Forest Products has meant 65 workers have been laid off from the sawmill. (EACOM)

A fire at NorSask Forest Products has meant half of the company's workers have been laid off.

On Jan. 12, a fire broke out at the Meadow Lake, Sask., sawmill's intake plant, where logs are stripped of their bark.

The resulting damage meant that the plant can't process logs and is operating at 25 per cent capacity.

Before the fire, the plant was operating at full capacity and was employing about 130 people.

"We are a two-shift operation and we were going full blast," said NorSask CEO Al Baliski. "It was a significant impact to us."

The plant sells 2x4 and 2x6 boards, mainly used in home construction. Around 60 per cent of its lumber is exported to the United States.

It's still not clear what caused the fire.

NorSask is owned by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council and is one of the largest First Nations-owned sawmills in Canada.

The company hopes to be back up and running by August and will re-hire its workers after that.

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