Fire quickly doused at High Prairie mill

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A small fire early Feb. 28 caused minimal damage at High Prairie Forest Products, a division of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
Smoke was observed coming from a debarker in the mechanical room by employees around 8 a.m., general manager Shea Pletzer says.
“The mill was not at risk and firefighters quickly extinguished the fire,” Pletzer says.
“Safety equipment detected the smoke and automatically shut down the equipment.”
Fire crews from High Prairie Fire Department and the Enilda fire district of Big Lakes County Protective Services responded to the call to contain the blaze.
As a precautionary step, emergency medics were also called to the site.
“An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing,” Pletzer says.
Emergency measures were immediately activated and all employees on site were safe, he notes.
“The majority of the mill resumed operations soon after fire crews left,” Pletzer says.
He anticipates the damaged equipment will be operational by March 8.
West Fraser appreciates all those who responded to the incident.
“Thank you to all the volunteer firefighters, medics, utilities, and everyone who assisted us,” Pletzer says.
“We are grateful for your swift and effective response.”
Safety on the site is paramount, he says.
“Public and employee safety are West Fraser’s top priorities,” Pletzer says.
“Our operations have an excellent safety record due to our commitment to prevention and safe practices for those working in and around our operations.
The incident occurred nine months after a major fire at Tolko’s High Prairie division.
Fire crews from High Prairie, Enilda, Faust, Grouard, Joussard and Lesser Slave Regional Fire Services responded to a major fire on May 20, 2022.

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