R-Y Timber Inc. announced on Tuesday (2-14-23) that it has decided to permanently close its sawmill in Livingston, Montana, after the facility suffered its second major fire in a 5-month period. On September 12, 2022, the mills planer mill building and its contents were destroyed by fire, and on February 7, 2023, the sawmill building was also severely damaged by fire.
R-Y Timber General Manager Dan Richards confirmed the closure to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, noting that the company was four to five weeks from restarting the planner mill operation when fire destroyed the sawmill. With both the planner and now the mill down, management at R-Y Timber anticipated it would be another year before work could resume as normal. In the meantime, rough cut boards were waiting to be planed.
Richards said the mill employed approximately 70 workers and the company is preparing to lay off a large number of them at the end of the week. Richard did anticipate that the company would keep a handful of employees to help organize and clean up the site.
According to Julia Altemus, Executive Director of the Montana Wood Products Association, the closure of the R-Y Timber Livingston mill will leave Montana with just six major sawmills left in operation in the state, according to the Chronicle. “In the last 30 years, we have now lost 31 mills, over 4,000 employees, and another 100 employees are now out of work.”
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