MISSOULA, Mont. - A wildfire that sparked Monday afternoon outside Florence continues to smolder.
It's barely March so it was a surprise for wildland crews and a great example of why crews are on standby throughout the year.
Luckily no homes or structures were lost, although the fire did get close to a small number of houses.
About 30 crew members from the Three Mile Volunteer Fire Department and the Florence and Stevensville Fire Departments fought the blaze for roughly half the day.
Fire officials tell us the fire chewed through at least 50 acres.
The fire started at about 4 p.m. and spread quickly into a draw east of Florence on Hidden Valley Road between Stans Way and Wheatgrass Road.
Fire officials tell NBC Montana you don't have to have a permit during open burning season in Ravalli County but they say it's important to be aware of conditions.