One of the major employers in the Cariboo has now been shut down for more than a week now because of the wildfires in the region.

West Fraser took a proactive approach in the areas where they have mills impacted.

James Gorman, the Vice President of Corporate and Government Relations, says they wanted to make sure their people and their families were safe…

“And as the various communities got put on evacuation notice we took the step of closing our mills in Chasm, 100 Mile House and both our plywood plant and sawmill plant in Williams Lake as of last Saturday.”

Gorman says steps have also been taken to try and protect their mills from the wildfires.

“That involves cleaning up the sites, that includes making sure we’ve got water resources on those sites and then we maintain small crews who’ve been trying to man those kids of fire protection operations as best we can.”

He says the fire came within several hundred metres of their 100 Mile House mill…

“During the course of last week the fire did get within several hundred metres of the mill in 100 Mile House. Fire authorities there have been doing a tremendous job of both protecting community and protecting important assets that employ so many folks in the region. They did initiate a back burn there right up against our site in order to help secure things.”

Gorman says they have also moved some of the large stacks of timber and manufactured lumber around when possible.

West Fraser employs around a thousand people at these four mills.