Rain moderates wildfire in Rattlesnake; road to trailhead closed until Wednesday

Recreationalists should avoid the Rattlesnake Trail and parking lot Monday through Tuesday night while fire crews repair the road.

With the Beeskove fire continuing to burn, fire vehicles have been giving the road leading to the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area a lot of use. So today and tomorrow, crews will close the road to do repairs and dust abatement to prepare for a return to normal use.

The parking lot will reopen on Wednesday.

Over the weekend, the Beeskove Fire didn’t grow much. As of Monday morning, the U.S. Forest Service estimated the size at 340 acres, only 3 acres more than Sunday’s estimate.

That’s partly because Friday evening’s thunderstorm brought rains that helped moderate the fire but did little to douse hotter areas. So firefighters are continuing to work on building indirect firelines.

The thunderstorm also brought high winds and lightning that grounded helicopters Friday night. Some of those helicopters were slated to deliver 90 hot meals to fire crews camped on Woody Mountain.

Rather than waste the food, Food Unit Leader Dennis Dunrovan donated the meals to the Poverello Center. Donovan, a longtime fire camp veteran, regularly donates unused or excess food items while on fires since he is a shelter volunteer at home in Colorado.

As of Monday morning, 280 people are working on the fire, including four Hotshot crews, two Type II crews and a heavy equipment task force that includes seven pieces of equipment. Also nine helicopters are continuing to make water drops.

Concern for firefighter safety is still a factor with steep rugged terrain, which increases the risk of burning logs rolling downhill and worries about crews being trapped if winds suddenly pick up.

Fire activity and smoke could increase because the forecast is for warmer, drier conditions over the next few days before Friday brings another possibility of thunderstorms.

The fire is predicted to move to the northeast and south. Crews are dedicating a little extra effort toward reducing hazardous fuels within a powerline corridor while working on the fire’s south and east sides.