NewsMissoula County


Fire burning in the Rattlesnake poses unique challenge

Posted at 10:08 AM, Jul 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-27 12:15:12-04

MISSOULA – The Besskove Fire burning north of Missoula in the Rattlesnake Drainage is challenging firefighters in a unique way.

Three helicopters spent Friday dropping water onto the area and crews are confident it will take boots on the ground to contain this fire.

“It’s very, very, very challenging terrain for folks on the ground. It’s very steep, its really rocky, there is a lot of rolling material up there as stuff burns,” Regional Risk Management Officer Dave Williams said.

“And so getting folks up there in a fashion where we can be successful is very challenging at this time and I suspect it will only be more challenging as things continue to warm up and dry out,” he added.

The blaze has burned between 30 and 35 acres although it’s been a challenge to get an accurate mapping of the area. Whie crews battle the flames safety officers ask that people avoid the area.

“We all live here too. We know how people in this area love the Rattlesnake just like we do so. From a safety point of view, it’s a tight road — 20-to-25 vehicles going in and out several times a day, explained Chris Johnson with Wildfire Adaptive Missoula.

“Add the public coming in that want to enjoy the recreation area and the wilderness area that’s near here too not many good things can happen,” he added.

The fire is 0% contained and no structures are threatened at this time.

The Rattlesnake Horse Trailhead, 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 are closed to the public.

Smoke may be visible from the upper Rattlesnake area and Missoula.