Forty-three fire departments from Jefferson, Dane, Walworth, and Waukesha counties assisted in fighting a 250-acre fire in a Jefferson County wildlife area.

A passer-by reported the fire at the Lake Mills State Wildlife Area at 9:52 p.m. Saturday.  The caller told dispatchers the fire was about four to five car lengths long at Hope Lake Road east of a parking lot for the public hunting grounds.

By the time firefighters from Lake Mills arrived, they said the fire was the size of four to five acres.

Lake Mills fire officials said high wind and limited accessibility helped the fire move quickly.

Four homes in the area of the fire avoided damage, but residents in the homes were told to gather valuables in case they had to be evacuated.  Foam fire retardant was applied at one home as a precautionary measure.

Lake Mills firefighters reported hot spots were still smoldering 12 hours after the fire was reported.