MISSOULA – A fire burning in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area has grown quickly this week after being sparked by lightning on Monday.
The Beeskove Fire is now approximately 35 acres and is burning 4½ miles up the main Rattlesnake Trail corridor.
No structures or recreation infrastructure is threatened at this time with fire managers reporting the blaze is spreading to the north and northeast toward Mineral Peak.
There are trail closures in that area for firefighter safety, including the Rattlesnake Horse Trailhead.
There are 70 people assigned to battle the fire, including the Lolo Interagency Hotshots, two Type II crews, and three helicopters.
However, due to the dry fuel conditions, rugged and steep terrain and expected weather, a Type 3 management team is taking over with more resources, including an additional hotshot crew.
In addition to 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.