Rattlesnake Fire grows to 35 acres
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: July 25, 2019

MISSOULA, MT. – At approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 24 the Beeskove fire grew from .6 acres to approximately 5-7 acres due to rolling and burning debris and strong winds. Over the next two hours the high wind and dry, available fuels grew the fire to approx. 35 acres.  The Beeskove fire was detected on July 22 at approximately 9:30 a.m.  The Lolo Interagency Hotshots were completing other project work in the area and were available to begin suppression activities within 1/2 hour of the fire’s detection.

The fire is active and burning in mixed conifer and shrub on a steep north-facing slope, south of Rattlesnake Creek, approximately 4.5 miles up the main Rattlesnake Trail corridor (Trail 515). At this time, the fire is spreading to the north and northeast, toward Mineral Peak; it is making wind and slope-driven runs with single-tree torching and spotting ahead of itself. No structures or recreation infrastructure is threatened at this time.

Lolo Interagency Hotshots, two Type II crews, and three helicopters are actively engaging and fighting this fire; their strategy will continue to be full-suppression.  The helicopters are assisting firefighters with water bucket drops to cool hot spots within the fire perimeter and help control the fire’s spread.  There are currently 70 personnel assigned to the fire.

Due to the dry fuel conditions, rugged and steep terrain and expected weather, the fire will transition to a Type 3 management structure today and more resources will arrive within the next day including an additional hotshot crew.

Public and firefighter safety are top priority. An area closure is currently in place for firefighter and public safety, and so firefighters have space to work.  The closure includes the Rattlesnake Creek Trail #515 and #515.7, the East Fork Rattlesnake Trail #514, portions of Sheep Mountain Trail #513 and the Mineral Peak Trail #511.  It also includes the Rattlesnake Horse Trailhead, which is closed for the staging of fire vehicles.  See attached Emergency Closure Order and map.

“This is a popular recreation area for Missoula, but right now firefighters need space to focus on the job at hand,” stated Jen Hensiek, Missoula District Ranger. “We ask that the public respect the closure as we work to suppress this fire.”

Aviation will be working in the area throughout the day. A temporary flight restriction is in place over the area; drones are not permitted to be flown in the area. Remember, if you fly, we can’t.