The fire started shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday in the kiln area of the Georgia-Pacific operation at 2128 Hoerner Waldorf Road in Creedmoor, authorities said.
"It's actually where we take our wood and we put it under heat for about a 15- to 20-hour process, and it takes the moisture out and gets it ready for market," plant manager Bill Collins said.
The plant doesn't operate on weekends, so few employees were around, Collins said. No injuries were reported.
"(The) main thing is nobody was hurt. Everybody is safe," he said.
Firefighters from more than a dozen area fire departments responded to the fire. But the location of the fire made it difficult to put out, authorities said.
"We set up a water shuttle operation due to the large amount of fire and (limited) water resources in the area. We were able to shuttle water back and forth and set up portable water tanks in the area," said Robert Way, Creedmoor fire safety officer.
The fire posed no danger to nearby residents, Way said.
"It was just regular, ordinary, combustible wood. There wasn't any chemicals or anything involved in it," he said. "There's always an opportunity where the fire could have expanded, but we were able to knock it down pretty quick."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Collins said he wasn't sure when the plant, which ships lumber along the East Coast, would reopen.