Impact on BC Forestry Industry
One of the immediate consequences of British Columbia's severe fire season is the negative impact on the provinces forest industry, which is still dealing with the US-Canada softwood lumber dispute.
Lost Timber Stocks
Early estimates of timber stock losses are as follows:
Costs of Fires to Province
In addition to the estimated $500 million price tag for fighting the fires, the BC government may be facing other long-term costs. To replace the lost timber, the major reforestation effort could cost the province $100 million. In addition, some industry officials believe that the fires will have an adverse impact on the province’s annual harvest, which in turn may negatively impact the stumpage fees forestry companies pay the provincial government to harvest wood on Crown land.
Cost to Forestry Companies
Forestry companies that have licenses to harvest timber destroyed by the forest fires will face some losses, including shut down while the fires were burning. While some timber will be salvaged, some mills will have to purchase and install special equipment to remove the charred wood from the logs and redirect worthless timber that can be used as fuel. In some areas--such as Cranbrook, where the fires were particularly intense--industry officials have high concern about the state of the lumber and whether any salvaging will be possible.
Cost to Consumers
Timber shortage fears may lead to higher consumer prices. In late August, the price of spruce-pine-fir construction lumber rose from $308 to $364 (U.S.) for 1,000 board feet. Prices have also been driven higher by forest fires in the US northwest, as well as lower production in Eastern Canada. Any jump in the price of lumber will cause higher prices for wood products, such as a house.