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The Latest: Wind-driven wildfires destroy homes in Montana

Posted September 5

— The Latest on Montana's (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Wind-driven wildfires have destroyed more homes in northwestern and central Montana.

The Missoulian reports that at least 10 homes and 30 other buildings in an Amish community near the Canadian border were burned on Saturday.

Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe says residents left before the fire reached the homes.

Some 187 residents in West Kootenai near Lake Koocanusa have evacuated their homes because of the threat from the 26-square-mile (67-square-kilometer) fire.

A separate fire destroyed four cabins northeast of Lincoln on Sunday. There are now 90 residents under evacuation orders as the 33-square-mile (85-square-kilometer) fire continues to spread.

A cold front this weekend brought wind gusts that fanned fires burning across the state.

The 17 large fires that saw significant growth burned at least 155 square miles (401 square kilometers) of new land over the weekend.

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9:35 a.m.

Students at a western Montana high school will start classes at a nearby luxury resort and ranch property after a wildfire forced evacuation of much of the town of Seeley Lake, including the school.

Classes for Seeley-Swan High School students started Tuesday in an administrative building at the Resort at Paws Up near Greenough, which is about 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Seeley Lake. Kitchen staff will cook their meals.

After the first week of classes were postponed, Missoula County Public Schools officials started looking for an alternate location without having to bus the students nearly 55 miles (88 kilometers) to Missoula.

MCPS spokeswoman Hatton Littman says the Seeley-Swan principal knows some resort staff and was able to talk with the owners, who offered their administration building.

Athletic practices will be held in Missoula if the air quality allows.

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