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New wind-whipped wildfire threatens Wash. mission

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October 3, 2012 02:44 AM EST | AP


OMAK, Wash. — Fire officials say a new wind-driven wildfire is threatening the historic St. Mary's Mission and school near Omak in north-central Washington.

KREM-TV reports that the fire first reported Tuesday afternoon had burned across roughly 1,000 acres – or 1 1/2 square miles – of sagebrush and grass by Tuesday night.

The station says some students at the Paschal Sherman Indian School have been evacuated.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers says winds peaked at about 40 miles per hour Tuesday evening.

Ike Cawston of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation tells The Wenatchee World that more than 75 firefighters from nearby agencies and the Washington state Department of Natural Resources are working to build fire lines and protect structures.

The fire has been burning near State Highway 155. The cause is under investigation.