State emergency management officials say it was a software mishap when cellphones in several area counties were mistakenly sent a message that told people to "Evacuate Now" on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Public Safety Department spokesman Bruce Gordon says recipients were told within ten minutes that no evacuation had been ordered.

The message, which was intended to be an internal test, came from Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) and went to cellphones in parts of Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Itasca, Pine and Saint Louis counties.

The Itasca County Sheriff’s Dispatch center was inundated with calls reporting the message Wednesday afternoon.

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