As of February 17, 2012, two of our colleagues are still in hospital being treated for their injuries. The rest have been released from hospital and have returned home, with some ongoing outpatient care being provided. We will continue to monitor our injured employees’ needs and progress. We wish them a full and successful recovery.

We are in contact with the families of Robert Luggi and Carl Charlie to plan for a Reconciliation Ceremony, which First Nations will take the lead in planning. We continue to feel the shock, and grief the tragic loss of these two lives leaves us with and our heartfelt sympathy remains with the Luggi and Charlie families.

The Burns Lake Tragedy Fund is receiving donations from all over North America and setting up criteria to be a non-profit entity to provide financial assistance for employees and other members of the community who may need help as a result of the fire. The Tragedy Fund has received in excess of $250,000, but many donations are being held until the organizational process is complete. Many Burns Lake businesses feature donation boxes for the Tragedy Fund or the Food Bank.

The Burns Lake Food Bank is stocked with generous recent donations from the community of Fraser Lake, the Burns Lake Overwaitea and the Bulkley Valley Credit Union. Burns Lake community member, Becky Thompson (250-692-9100), continues to help in lieu of direct contact with the Food Bank.

The Job Fair in Burns Lake last week had over 30 companies represented with a potential of 1,300 job opportunities, 400 of which are within an hour of Burns Lake. More than 300 people were estimated to attend the Job Fair. Mining jobs are available due to expansions by both Imperial Metals’ mills - Endako and Huckleberry. Sheraton Holdings Ltd. announced it will reopen its sawmill operations east of Burns Lake in March, creating seven to nine positions, with assistance from Hampton, who has offered to sell them the log profile they require to run. Other forest products jobs are available at Canfor and West Fraser, with contact available via their respective web sites: www.canfor.com and www.westfraser.com.

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, is closely overseeing the community recovery process and said, "We are moving quickly, bringing together all levels of government, private companies and First Nations to develop strategies for Burns Lake to recover economically from the Babine Forest Products tragedy. John Rustad, Nechako Lakes MLA, is also personally involved in helping the community through this challenging time. "

We are working with Lakes District Employment and Career Services to match job seekers with employers who have vacancies. If you are interested in seeing what’s available, please call the company on 250-692-1826 to make an appointment to meet with a consultant.

The process of selling the logs we have decked in the bush on winter access roads is ongoing, as is work on a plan to process and dispose of the Babine rough lumber inventory, likely not until at least March.

Hampton senior management continues to be on site at Burns Lake to assist in the investigation and the recovery. Work is ongoing with Government, our BLNDC partners, and the community to help our employees and their families and to develop a timber supply scenario that will lead to the sawmill being rebuilt.

News of the tragedy has traveled far and wide. Lakes District Middle School sister-school, Xianghe #1 Middle School in China, sent condolences via a letter from its principal to the Lakes District News. An elementary school in North Delta, B.C., sponsored a coin drive raising $1,500 to benefit students at Burns Lake William Konkin Elementary School.

Updates will continue as we have more information to share. In the meantime, we urge any employees or family members who need assistance to contact us at the mill office, which is now back in operation.

Babine Forest Products: Employee Update – February 10, 2012

Our immediate and ongoing priority continues to be meeting the needs of our colleagues and their families and to support them in whatever way we can.

As of February 9, 2012, three of our colleagues are still in hospital being treated for their injuries. Two employees are still undergoing care on an out-patient basis and the rest have been released from hospital and have returned home. We will continue to visit them and monitor their needs and progress. We wish them a full and successful recovery.

Funerals and a memorial were held last weekend for the two individuals tragically killed in the incident and our prayers and thoughts are with the families of Robert Luggi and Carl Charlie. No words can adequately alleviate the shock, pain, and grief the tragic loss of these two lives leaves us with. It has an everlasting effect on these families, the community, and our company.

The Burns Lake Tragedy Fund continues to receive donations to the fund that are coming in from all over North America and to set criteria for financial assistance for employees and other members of the community who may need help as a result of the fire. The Tragedy Fund has received overwhelming financial support and is in the process of setting up a formal application process.

The fund has also made a commitment to ensure that the Burns Lake Food Bank remains stocked for as long as necessary to meet the needs of the community. We know that not everyone feels comfortable using the Food Bank, so a member of the community, Becky Thompson, has offered to help access whatever assistance they may need. Becky can be contacted on 250-692-9100.

We are working with Lakes District Employment and Career Services to match job seekers with employers who have vacancies. If you are interested in seeing what’s available, please call the company on 250-692-1826 to make an appointment to meet with a consultant. Canfor and West Fraser held a job fair February 8th in Burns Lake and can still be contacted via their respective web sites: www.canfor.com and www.westfraser.com . The process of selling the logs we have decked in the bush on winter access roads is ongoing, as is work on a plan to process and dispose of the Babine lumber inventory.

Pat Bell, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation, has appointed Bob Clark, a forest products industry veteran to lead the on-the-ground recovery with short-term and long-term economic strategies between the community and the Ministry. Clark is working out of Burns Lake and began his role immediately after the appointment, January 30th.

Hampton senior management continues to be on site at Burns Lake to assist in the investigation and the recovery. We are also working with Government, our BLNDC partners, and the community to develop a timber supply scenario that will lead to the sawmill being rebuilt.

WorkSafe B.C. recently announced a ramp-up of the investigation with a new phase beginning that will involve heavy machinery. They have committed to hiring local labor when practical to assist with general jobs, but the mill site remains closed for safety reasons and to preserve evidence. We appreciate that WorkSafe noted in their release that Hampton has been forthcoming and cooperative.

Updates will be posted when we have more information to share. In the meantime, we urge any employees or family members who need assistance to contact us at the mill office, which is now back in operation.

Babine Forest Products: Employee Update - February 2, 2012

Our immediate and ongoing priority is to meet the needs of our colleagues and their families and to support them in whatever way we can.

As of February 2, 2012, seven of our colleagues were still in hospital being treated for their injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and we wish them a full and successful recovery. We will continue to visit them and monitor their needs and progress.

As part of that process, we are working with the Burns Lake Tragedy Fund to manage donations to the fund that are coming in from all over North America and to set criteria for financial assistance for employees and other members of the community who may need help as a result of the fire.

The fund will soon be setting up a website with details of how to apply for support. The fund has also made a commitment to ensure that the Burns Lake Food Bank remains stocked for as long as necessary to meet the needs of the community.

We know that not everyone feels comfortable using the Food Bank, so a member of the community, Becky Thompson, has offered to help access whatever assistance they may need. Becky can be contacted on 250-692-9100.

To help employees find new jobs, we are working with Lakes District Employment and Career Services to match job seekers with employers who have vacancies. If you are interested in seeing what’s available, please call the company on 250-692-1826 to make an appointment to meet with a consultant.

Here at the mill, we are in the process of selling the logs we have decked in the bush on winter access roads. Our loggers are also back at work processing and hauling logs and we anticipate that the work will take another six weeks.

We will update you again when we have more information to share. In the meantime, we urge any employees or family members who need assistance to contact us at the mill office, which is now back in operation.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.