A wildfire is burning between the Lewis & Clark Caverns and Three Forks and is approximately 240 acres as of Thursday morning. Crews are currently on scene and battling the fire from the ground and the air.

Gusty winds are expected over most of Montana this afternoon, but thankfully temperatures in southwest Montana are not nearly as warm as the eastern half of the state.

We are expecting "erratic and high winds and thunderstorms this afternoon".

Here's what we know about the Willow Creek Fire as of 11:30am Thursday morning, according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation:

  • The Willow Creek Fire is burning in grass, brush and timber.
  • Areas of the fire are very steep and inaccessible by ground.
  • Four DNRC helicopters are working the fire.
  • Additional air and ground resources have been ordered and are on their way.
  • Currently fire activity has slowed down, and the fire is not currently growing rapidly in size.
  • Firefighters will remain on heightened alert and all measures to ensure firefighter safety will be taken as weather forecasts indicate erratic winds and thunderstorms in the future.
  • The fire is between Highway 2 past the Lewis & Clark Caverns near Three Forks, west of Willow Creek.
  • The fire is approximately 240 acres.
  • No cause of the fire has been given.
  • Jefferson County has requested assistance and the DNRC's County Assist Team will arrive Thursday morning to help.
  • The fire was first reported to Dillon Dispatch on Wednesday at 3:37 PM.
  • Local, state and federal firefighters responded quickly including fire departments from Gallatin, Broadwater and Jefferson County.
  • No evacuations are in place.
  • Law enforcement is contacting residents in the fire area to put them on notice.
  • Less than ten structures are currently threatened, and the fire is moving away from a sub-division area containing numerous structures.

Wildfire season is officially underway. Always use extreme caution when traveling through, or recreating in the backcountry. Wildfires get out of control quickly with higher temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds.

Temperatures across Montana are expected to be extremely high next week, increasing the fire danger. Be safe out there!

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