US timber company Plum Creek is closing one sawmill in Montana and curtailing production at three others in the state.

The “painful” move will cause the loss of 145 jobs and is designed to realign ouput with reduced demand for wood products.

The Ksanka sawmill in Fortine, which produces stud grade lumber for home construction, will permanently close in March with the loss of 74 jobs, while operations at the Evergreen mill will be curtailed for the remainder of January, February and potentially March.

Pine board sawmills at Pablo and Columbia Falls are also affected – the former reducing to one shift, with the loss of 36 jobs and Columbia Falls curtailing output for the next three months. The Columbia Falls MDF facility will start reduced shifts on January 19, leading to 35 job losses.

“The forest products industry in general and the lumber business in particular have been severely impacted by the battered housing market,” said Rick Holley, Plum Creek’s president and CEO.

“Unfortunately, these steps are necessary to match supply with the eroding demand for our wood products.”