MISSOULA — Fire officials are confident a wildfire north of Missoula will not grow significantly even though the weather is supposed to get hotter.
However, they have a plan in place in case that does happen. Senator Steve Daines attended a briefing at the incident base on Wednesday to receive an update on firefighting progress and what to expect in the near future.
"We've got excellent leadership working together. And consequently that combined with -- we have had a few breaks here in the weather the rain that we had a few days ago -- means that this fire could have been a catastrophic wildfire [but it] looks like now it's going to be contained," Sen. Daines said. "We are not going to see loss of structures and the forecast looks very good."
The Beeskove Fire is burning just over 450 acres in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
Nearly a month since the fire sparked, it is almost 50% contained and on Wednesday fir fighters completed fuel breaks and indirect lines to the east, to secure a border toward the Highway 200 coordinator. The fire crews will be downsizing as a Type 3 Incident Management Team will be brought in on Saturday morning.
More than 500 homes and structures have been assessed in the case of spreading. The unique part is that the data collected will not only help in the case of a rapid spread this year, but also for years to come.
"We are going to build what is called a digital binder. And basically that will have the structure protection plan in it with the structures and their assessments. It will also have the digital data that we can upload in different layers to have in the future," Fire Operations Section Chief Paul Diaz explained.
"So, that's something that can stay for quite a while. So, even if we had another fire in this area we would be able to grab that data and put it in right away. And firefighters on the ground could hit a house and it would tell you what that triage is."
It's cost more than $6 million to battle the Beeskove Fire.