Tuesday night wildfire forces evacuations of school, homes
1,000 acres burning near Omak
A wildfire has forced evacuation of Paschal Sherman Indian School and nearby homes and had burned approximately 1,000 acres of grass and trees and several structures, as of late Tuesday night.
A press release issued from Mt. Tolman Fire Center at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday stated structures had been lost, and that it was not known whether any homes were among them.
The fire started at approximately 4:40 p.m. near highway 155 and St. Mary’s Mission Road, about two miles northeast of Omak in high winds.
SR 155 remained open, but the Columbia River Road was closed, as was St. Mary’s Mission Road.
School Superintendent Debbie Simpson evacuated 30 students from PSIS, a boarding school for Indian children through ninth grade. Some students were released to their parents. Others were housed last night at the Okanogan Inn.
Residences near St. Mary’s Mission were evacuated. And those near Haley Creek road were told to get ready to go. Residents of the Kartar area further south were put on early warning evacuation notice.
About 80 to 100 firefighters and two bulldozers were battling the blaze in winds of 25-35 mph, cutting containment lines and dozing around structures.
Winds today were expected to reach 20-25 mph in dry conditions.
Coordination is occurring between the Colville Confederated Tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Okanogan Fire District, Omak Fire District, and Okanogan County, the press release said.