A general evacuation order has been issued for the entire community of Stanley Mission.

Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson says this is based on the recommendation of Saskatchewan Environment’s Wildfire Management branch, which has advised that a nearby forest fire will cross the only road into Stanley Mission at some point tonight about 8 kilometres west of the community.

Cook-Searson says she’s been told that situation is “imminent”.

The community itself is still not in any danger.

The chief and local band officials are asking people still in Stanley Mission to go to the band hall to register, and that’s where the transportation arrangements will be made.

Cook-Searson says the evacuation could take a few hours to complete, since there are still 1,600 people remaining in the community.

She says prior to the general evacuation order, the number of local residents evacuated had reached 550 earlier today because of the heavy smoke caused by shifting winds.

Earlier today, local residents had been advised to have some belongings packed in case an evacuation order was given.  The community was put on “heightened alert” because of the potential threat to road access.

The chief expects most of the new evacuees will likely end up in Saskatoon.