Omak wildfire burns homes, forces evacuations


OMAK, Wash. - A fast-moving and growing wildfire near Omak burned two homes and threatened an Indian boarding school on the Colville Reservation Wednesday.


The fire has also forced the evacuation of more than a dozen homes.


Wind caused the fire to grow dramatically, and 5,000 acres have burned.


 The blaze also burned an outbuilding near the historic St. Mary's Mission while nearing the Paschal Sherman Indian School, said Kathy Moses, public information officer for the Mount Tolman Fire Center.


   The school has about 300 students. About 30 boarding students were evacuated to a motel in Omak and classes were canceled Wednesday.


The owners of the two homes that burned were not hurt, but one family lost their dogs.


More than 150 firefighters are now battling the flames, and helicopters have been dropping water for much of the day.


The state has received little rain in the past two months. A Sept. 8 lightning storm started dozens of fires in Eastern Washington, and five major fires burned a total of 186 square miles. Officials said the embers will smolder until significant rain or snow falls.