Watch above: Decision made to evacuate rest of Sask. community
SASKATOON – The remainder of Stanley Mission residents were being evacuated Sunday after a forest fire continues to burn out of control near the northern Saskatchewan community.
The evacuation order was issued Saturday night after winds shifted.
“Winds changed over the last 24 hours, and as a result of that, the fire is now threatening the access road and the power lines,” said Duane McKay, commissioner of emergency management and fire safety with government relations.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment says the fire has grown to an estimated 4,000 hectares and is burning five to 10 kilometres north of the community.
No buildings are in immediate threat.
Helicopters, air tankers and fire crews are busy battling the massive forest fire which started on May 21.
The province has called in air tankers from Ontario and more are on standby in Manitoba.
Stanley Mission reacted quickly in the organization and registry for the initial evacuation.
“We have registered just over 900 people for emergency social services,” said Deanna Wysoskey, social services provincial coordinator for emergency services.
Wysoskey said the province is prepared for another 1,100 evacuees if need be.
Evacuees are being taken to La Ronge, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.
Around 400 people are in Saskatoon with the majority staying at Henk Ruys Soccer Centre, hotels and with family.
Around 600 to 700 residents were to be evacuated starting again Sunday morning.
A band of hot weather, shifting winds and lack of precipitation has created the perfect conditions for the blaze.
“We have established a command post in Stanley Mission. We sent two rapid response teams and additional emergency services officers to help coordinate and assist the community,” said McKay.
A group of people and staff will stay in the community to look after critical infrastructure, thefts and pets.
The province says it will continue to monitor the blaze.