MISSOULA, Mont. -

The following is a press release from the Bitterroot National Forest:

There is a fire burning east of Florence in the Sapphire Mountains on state land.  The Three Mile Fire began around 3:00 p.m. and has grown to approximately 40 acres.  It is burning in grass and timber in the Three Mile Wildlife Management Area, eight miles east of Florence. 

The fire is not on the Bitterroot National Forest, but a multi-agency effort to suppress the fire is underway and includes local fire departments (Stevensville, Florence, Three Mile) and the Forest Service. 

Numerous resources are in-route or on scene including the Lolo Hotshot crew and local and federal engines.  Multiple aircraft (3 helicopters, 2 single engine air tankers) are dropping water and retardant to keep the fire from spreading.  

The cause of the fire is not known at this time.  There are no structures threatened.