The continent’s largest lumber producer, Weyerhaeuser Co., announced that the wildfires reached four of its facilities in Oregon this week. As a result, mills have cut back shifts in order to ensure its workers’ safety, according to Alabama News Center. Just as home builders were already frustrated with the growing lumber prices and shortage, the wildfires have further intensified shortages. An official from ERA Forest Products Research expects lumber prices to dip in the fourth quarter but shoot back up next year. The current price of lumber is 68% higher than the average for the last five years.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you see some of the mills struggling to keep the log supply in front of the mills,” Devin Stockfish, Weyerhaeuser’s chief executive officer, said during a virtual conference presentation Monday.
Weyerhaeuser is one of several forest products companies operating in Alabama, which also includes Georgia Pacific, International Paper, WestRock, Kronospan, Brown-Forman Cooperage, Louisiana-Pacific and Zilkha Biomass Energy. The industry is one of those targeted by the Alabama Department of Commerce for growth.
The industry employs 26,000 in the state, according to the Commerce Department. Alabama is the second-largest producer of pulp and paper in the U.S., the seventh-largest in lumber production and the eighth-largest in wood panel production.