Stanley Mission ordered to evacuate as fire edges closer

The province has ordered a full evacuation of Stanley Mission, Sask. as fire edges closer to the northern community's sole entrance.

The fire grew to 4,000 hectares over the weekend, threatening the community's sole entrance road

The province has ordered a full evacuation of Stanley Mission Cree Nation, Sask.

The northern community’s only access point is threatened by a 4,000 hectare forest fire. Flames were burning about 10 km from the road by Sunday morning.

More than 400 people left the community Saturday, joining nearly 350 others who left earlier in the week. Another 600 to 700 were scheduled to depart Sunday. A Stanley Mission Cree Nation community website says approximately 1,500 people in total live in the area.

Government officials said evacuees are staying in a number of centres including the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre in Saskatoon, hotels in Prince Albert and La Ronge, and with friends and family.

Government officials say the fire, which was spotted near Stanley Mission Wednesday, is not a threat to any homes in the community. However, it was burning closer to the only entrance and exit point at Stanley Mission, and creating a risk to its main power lines Saturday, prompting the plan to move people out.

Fire crews are working on scene in the air and on the ground to keep fire away from the road and power system. Aerial water tankards have arrived from as far as Ontario to help.

Duane McKay with Government Relations credited people and leaders of Stanley Mission with being well-prepared and organized during the evacuation process. 

Government officials are planning to provide an update Monday morning.