More than 400 flee fire in northern Sask.

A forest fire has forced more than 400 people from their homes in northern Saskatchewan.
A forest fire has forced more than 400 people from their homes in northern Saskatchewan.

The fire was just a few kilometres from the communities of Hall Lake and Sikachu Lake, southwest of La Ronge, Sunday afternoon when officials made the call to move the 440  residents.

Officials say the fire, which at last report covered about 25 hectares, was started by lightning and was reported around 1:16 p.m. CST on Sunday.

The evacuees have been moved to La Ronge, about a 100-kilometre drive  to the northeast, for safety.

Hall Lake and Sikachu Lake are part of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

About 54 evacuees who arrived by bus or car spent the night at a community centre in La Ronge. Others stayed with family and friends.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said she hopes to find out soon if the evacuees can go home.  

"We just got word that they got the fire under control in Hall Lake," Cook-Searson said.  

"They couldn't send ground crews in there yesterday, so they're just going in there now. And by probably about 10 this morning we'll know if they get to go home today."

Later in the morning, Environment Ministry officials said it may be a day or several days before the residents can return.

It's the largest evacuation since about 1,200 people from Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake First Nation were forced out of their homes last month. Those people have now returned.