Missoula County: ‘Nasty terrain’ means Beeskove fire will burn for weeks

The latest flight over the Beeskove fire put the estimated acreage at just over 200. (inciweb)

Firefighters are working hard on the Beeskove fire, but it’s probably going to burn for at least another few weeks.

Adriene Beck, Missoula County emergency management director, told the Missoula County Commission Tuesday morning that “nasty terrain” and fire spotting are making it extremely difficult for firefighters to control the Beeskove fire in the Rattlesnake Creek drainage.

“The good news is that we’re not seeing a lot of smoke inundation; the bad news is we’re not getting a complete burn,” Beck said. “In about two weeks is when we’re going to see that fire probably really stand up and do something.”

An overflight Monday night put the wildfire size at a little more than 200 acres.

Firefighters can find no good place to make a stand so they’re monitoring the blaze and looking for opportunities to move in.

The fire is burning on the Lolo National Forest, but the area is on the boundary of a lot of protection agreements and it could move into any number of areas. Beck said it’s about to burn into an area where the state has jurisdiction under the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

So the county is joining in the discussion to be prepared in case evacuation orders are necessary.

“With the terrain, topography and predominant wind patterns, anything’s possible. But when you look at the various models out there, they tend to agree on the general direction and growth of where the fire’s going to go. And for the most part, it’s not going to impact that much housing,” Beck said.

The Beeskove Fire started at a point about 5 miles up the Rattlesnake Trail a week ago from a lightning strike.