The Willow Creek Fire, reported Wednesday afternoon 6 miles southwest of Three Forks, west of Highway 287, had burned about 350 acres as of a Friday morning report. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has determined that the fire was human-caused and investigation is continuing. Dillon Dispatch received the initial report.

The fire is burning on private land in grass, brush and timber and started in extremely rough terrain. Four helicopters were dropping water on the blaze during the initial attack, according to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservatino County Assist Team. Four crews and 7 engines are now on the fire line, with state, federal and local firefighters. Personnel from Gallatin, Broadwater and Jefferson County fire departments have also responded.

In a news release, Incident Commander David Hamilton said the fire is 10 percent contained and the crews are working to protect private property, while keeping the firefighters safe during some erratic wind and weather conditions.

There are over 50 structures in the area, but there have been no evacuations as of Friday afternoon, though pre-evacuation notices have been issued. Weather conditions will include extemely hot temperatures for this time of year.

Again, it's time to remind you to be careful with fire in a very dry year in Montana. If you have a campfire, keep it small. And when you leave your campsite, make sure the fire is out. The coals must be cool to the touch. Drown the fire, and then, just to be sure, drown it again. There were way too many abandoned campfires last year. The Bitterroot National Forest found some weekly during the spring and summer.

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