Tamarack Fire spreads east across Hwy. 395 in Nevada

Burns more than 65,000 acres

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12:26 p.m. PDT July 24, 2021

Tamarack Fire map
Tamarack Fire map. The white line was the fire perimeter at 9:30 p.m. PDT July 23, 2021. The green line was the perimeter approximately 24 hours before. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 4:00 a.m. PDT July 24, 2021.

Calmer winds Friday allowed firefighters on the 65,152-acre Tamarack Fire 14 miles southeast of South Lake Tahoe to make progress, especially on the north and northeast sides of the fire. On Saturday they are expecting similar conditions which should allow additional containment efforts.

The Incident Management Team recorded a very informative video Saturday morning, featuring Operations Section Chief Pat Seekins.

Tamarack Fire
Tamarack Fire July 23, 2021. InciWeb.

1:40 p.m. PDT July 23, 2021

Tamarack Fire map
Tamarack Fire map. The white line was the perimeter at 7:25 p.m. PDT July 22, 2021. The green line was the perimeter about 24 hours before.

On Thursday the Tamarack Fire, pushed by strong winds, spread east across US Highway 395 in spite of firefighters’ best efforts to stop it at the highway with a burning operation. Within a few hours it burned about 2,500 acres east of the highway, becoming well established on that side.

On Tuesday the fire burned from California into Nevada. A mapping flight at 7:25 p.m. Thursday determined it had grown by about 7,000 acres to a total of 58,417 acres.

It crossed 395 a mile or two north of Holbrook Junction, which is the intersection with Highway 208. Friday afternoon the FlightRadar24 service showed a great deal of air tanker activity southeast of the junction. That would indicate that the fire had spread into the area between 208 and Topaz Lake, but it remains to be confirmed.

There are 1,353 personnel working on the fire and more resources are on order. Firefighting operations continue around the clock, with additional crews added to the night shift. Night operations include structure protection and firing operations when conditions are suitable.

Firefighters have continued to keep the fire south of Highway 88, which with Highway 89 were both closed in the fire area Friday morning to all traffic except incident personnel. A portion of 395 was also closed Friday morning for firefighter and public safety.

On Thursday an additional 1,369 people were evacuated primarily from the Hwy 395 corridor, bringing the total number of those evacuated to 2,439.

The Incident Management Team has created an interactive map that is intended to have evacuation information for residents.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

18 thoughts on “Tamarack Fire spreads east across Hwy. 395 in Nevada”

  1. Deepest, heartfelt gratitude to all who have fought this fire and kept us as safe as possible. We will always remember, with loving thanks.

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  2. Hey Martin, yes there are agreements in place between local, state and federal agencies. Interagency cooperation works very well generally speaking.

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  3. No one is disrespecting the men and women who are fighting these fires, just concerned about those decisions that resulted in the fire becoming what it is, very destructive and life changing for a great many residents of the area.
    The publics perception is certainly going to be contrary to those in the fire management profession, the public does not understand why a fire is monitored vs. suppressed, especially given the current conditions.
    Who knows what really occurred as far as how this fire was initially managed, one thing I am certain of is that there was no malicious intent, folks in this business sincerely care about the resource and their communities, I would venture to say there are a few folks (USFS) who are sick about this and if they had a working crystal ball would have maybe done things different.
    I do not have the stats as to how often a fire in monitor status blows up, but I would venture to say that it does not occur as frequently as some would believe…..it does happen…..sure…….
    Peace……

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  4. An immense thank you will never be nearly enough for all the gratitude to everyone who is slaving away day and night to keep us safe…. We owe you, your families and your loved ones our lives!

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  5. Do the USDA and DOI have mutual agreements regarding suppression of wildfires on public and/or protected US lands?

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  6. Please forgive my ignorance but I am trying to understand the bigger picture. Based on what I have been reading and hearing, currently the USFS under the USDA, is underfunded and understaffed regarding the growing threat of wildfires. It’s interesting that the BLM is with the DOI.

    I learn from reading your comments here and elsewhere. Maybe here or on another site, I think someone mentioned the idea of creating a National Fire Service to deal with this growing threat from wildfires.

    Sorry for you folks having to deal with this firsthand, I am grateful the winds are currently blowing east.

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      1. I think we already have conflicts. But, if they can create a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after 9/11, then surely a new entity can be created to address the ongoing threat to people and property due to global warming and the effects on the North American continent.

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    1. There are 5 Federal wild land fire fighting agencies. USFS (USDA); National Park Service, BLM, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Fish and Wildlife all under DOI. All have different missions in regards to the lands they manage. The only commonality between them is that the wages they pay their firefighters are woefully inadequate compared to the wages paid by CalFire and county agencies in CA.

      Federal firefighters are being trained and after a season or two of experience are moving to agencies that pay higher wages……..thus creating understaffing at the Federal level.

      These past several fire seasons should be a wake call to our legislators that something needs to change now. A National Wildland Firefighting Service combining the fire fighting resources of these agencies, with commensurate pay scales as the agencies they fight fire shoulder to shoulder with, is the step in the right direction.

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    2. Happy Global Warming! Nature and the laws of physics don’t care about your politics!

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    3. Yeah, thanks for hoping the smoke goes East. The east coast is now choking on your fire smoke. Thanks for wishing it on us. Maybe try putting them out.

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  7. 1,353 firefighters with more on the way…. Aircraft too numerous to mention…. And the FS preaches Risk Management. What a crock of BS! And they have spent how many millions? And the FS preaches Cost Accountability——HAHAHAHA!! This one is now water under the bridge, but after so many times of this happening, maybe the FS “Leadership” will make a decision to stop this insanity??? I see they are requiring masks again on fires now—that will fix everything.

    Damn, so sad. From a once great institution.

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  8. People here are sick over the fire getting to the size and area it is. I know one person who lost his house in this and he feels they are withholding the true info on the fire. They are throwing as much air attack at it as they can get and two Super Scoopers landed at South Lake Tahoe Airport this afternoon and are going to start working the with quick turns out of Topaz Lake. We are totally smoked out here in Carson Valley and I can barely see Minden Tahoe Airport 3 miles west of me. They did set up a retardant tank there for the SEATS to reload.

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  9. “darn, guess we should have put it out as soon as it was detected” “O’well win some loss some” Between the U.S. Forest Service and PG&E the landscape in California is forever being changed (probably not in a good way), unless you are an environmentalist. What happened to the policy of extinguishing all fires? This policy goes back to pre World War II. I have seen in my five decades in fire, I see no advantage in letting these fires be in control of Mother Nature. The list of destructive fires associated with this policy is a clue that the policy isn’t working. i.e Yellowstone.
    Question: In the 2010 a Northern California band recorded s song that was well produced and arranged. Heard on several radio stations around North California. . I don’t know the title or band, but the lyrics focused on “we are the Forest Service and we are coming to your town to burn it down….” Band or Title? Maybe on Amazon? I want to send a copy to my Congressman.

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    1. Yeah dude, and all the forest service fire fighters breaking their ass in your state to defend forest and property really appreciate your disregard for our profession and disrespect for the agency.

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      1. I was out camping at Burnside Lake on the 13th . I was riding my dirt bike on a hill overlooking Grover Hot Springs and noticed a little smoke, and wondering why no one was putting the fire out. I camped out until Friday 16th and decided to leave because I did not fill comfortable spending another night out there. Why did they let it burn. Sould be ashamed of there selves for putting all of us in danger. May the Lord forgive them .

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    2. “ This policy goes back to pre World War II. I have seen in my five decades in fire, I see no advantage in letting these fires be in control of Mother Nature. The list of destructive fires associated with this policy is a clue that the policy isn’t working. i.e Yellowstone.”

      Based on your comment, you are more aged like me. I could be wrong here but, at the moment, Mother Nature is calling the shots. Our climate is changing at an accelerated pace. We are learning more all the time. The government is typically the last to respond and that certainly seems true regarding the impact of climate change and increased wildfires in the American West.

      I could sit back and just muse about possible solutions but I have a kid currently working these fires, probably in unsafe conditions.

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