Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement after U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments partially blaming Canadian lumber imports for forest fires in California.

“First and foremost our thoughts are with people in Canada and the U.S. who have been displaced from their homes or are on evacuation alert, and with our first responders who are valiantly battling fires on both sides of the border,” said Nighbor.

“The U.S. simply does not have the milling capacity to meet consumer needs and are only able to satisfy about 75 percent of American wood demand. Unfortunately, Americans are being forced to pay higher prices for wood products because of U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber. The U.S. could provide an immediate discount to Americans rebuilding after fires by rescinding tariffs on Canadian lumber, which has increased the cost of lumber by 20 percent.”

“It’s also important to note that the quality of Canadian lumber cannot be matched by burnt California wood recovered after fires. U.S. homebuilders value the quality, strength and sustainably of Canadian wood and the most important action the U.S. could take to help people rebuild would be to eliminate tariffs.”

“In regard to managing forests damaged or destroyed by fire and reducing fuel for future fires, we must work together on both sides of the border with governments and local communities to find solutions to ensure we are keeping communities safe, respecting important environmental values, and driving social and economic opportunities for forestry communities.”