The chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band says she has been informed by Saskatchewan Environment’s Wildfire Management branch that there is a potential forest fire risk to the only road in and out of Stanley Mission.

As a result, the community is being put on “heightened alert”.

Tammy Cook-Searson says Stanley Mission residents are being advised to have some personal items packed just in case there is a general evacuation order later.

She says there has been “heavy, heavy smoke” and falling ashes in Stanley Mission today caused by a nearby forest fire — and that has caused some local residents to panic.

But Cook-Searson says the forest fire is currently NOT a threat to the community itself or nearby Grandmother’s Bay.

The heavier smoke is being caused by a shift in wind direction today.

The chief says anyone with breathing problems or health concerns caused by the smoke today should go to the local clinic to be assessed.

She notes the Stanley Mission Fire doubled in size yesterday to about 1,650 hectares, but was blowing away from the community.

At last word, the fire was still not contained.

Meanwhile, roughly 340 evacuees from Stanley Mission are being told they won’t be able to return home until at least Monday, perhaps longer.

The evacuees include the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, very young children and expectant mothers.

Most are staying with friends and family in the La Ronge area, but there are about 100 staying at a shelter in a soccer centre in Saskatoon.

Many of them have been out of their homes since Wednesday, when one of two fires came within a few hundred metres of some buildings in Stanley Mission.

Any of the evacuees who have not registered with the Red Cross are encouraged to do so in order to access services they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Meanwhile, Cook-Searson reports that the second fire that erupted near Stanley Mission earlier this week, the Pearl Fire, is now contained and crews are doing mop-up work.

Saskatchewan Environment also says a fire near Pelican Narrows that temporarily cut off the only highway to Sandy Bay on Wednesday was 50 per cent contained early yesterday and crews were expected to make even more progress before the day was out.