WABUSH, N.L. - A small mining town in western Labrador has been evacuated as a forest fire burns nearby, leaving a blanket of smoke hanging over the community.

The municipality of Wabush says it has declared a state of emergency because of air quality concerns from the blaze.

The fire is also being blamed for a breakdown in phone service for calls made between Wabush and the neighbouring town of Labrador City, including those to 911.

Residents are being advised to take all essential items with them to a reception centre in Labrador City, including medication, extra clothing, cash, bank cards and cellphones.

In a statement, Wabush Mayor Ron Barron says residents will not be permitted to return to their properties until the state of emergency is lifted.

He says that could be several days.