Wednesday afternoon most of the smoke from the Mosquito Fire 35 miles northeast of Sacramento was moving into Northern Nevada. But that changed overnight as it spread northwest toward Chico and Redding in north-central California.
A forecast produced by NOAA expects that by 1 a.m. Friday it will again be moving into Northern Nevada, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Idaho. And from there, most likely Montana.
Below is the current air quality, produced by AirNow.
The fire 15 miles southeast of South Lake Tahoe has burned more than 67,000 acres in California and Nevada
10:32 a.m. PDT July 26, 2021
Law enforcement authorities in Alpine and Douglas Counties ended evacuations Sunday in 15 communities near the Tamarack Fire 15 miles southeast of South Lake Tahoe, enabling nearly 2,000 residents to return to their homes. The number of people still under evacuation orders is now approximately 300. A map is available showing the current status of evacuations.
The fire has burned 67,764 acres.
Monday morning authorities reopened Highway 395 on the east side of the fire and Highway 88 on the west.
The fire history map above shows that the Tamarack Fire burned into the footprints of multiple fires from previous years, including Washington (2015), Slinkard (2017), Holbrook (1994), and possibly Tre (2012). Not shown on the map is the East Fork Fire that burned in the notch in the perimeter east of Woodfords a few weeks before the Tamarack Fire. Depending on the vegetation type and the recency of the earlier burn, a new fire will usually slow down when it encounters a fire footprint, exhibiting less resistance to control. If it is not too windy, a combination of aerial and ground-based firefighters can often be effective in slowing or stopping the spread in those areas.
The National Situation Report indicates that 15 structures have burned. A map is available showing the location of destroyed and damaged structures.
Hand crews were able to complete containment of the northern edge and several other critical locations on the fire Sunday. Monday’s priorities include finishing containment on the northeast corner and securing more of the southern edge.
Thunderstorms are in the forecast Monday afternoon, and there is a chance for rain into the evening.
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.
1:40 p.m. PDT July 23, 2021
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 fire crossed US Highway 395 Thursday afternoon
9:10 p.m. PDT July 22, 2021
On Tuesday the Tamarack Fire burned from California into Nevada, and Thursday afternoon it made another big push to the east and hit US Highway 395 with some intensity north of Holbrook Junction. At first it was just a spot fire across the road but it grew very rapidly and at 4:10 p.m. aerial firefighters estimated it had burned 2,500 acres east of the highway.
Several large air tankers including a DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker assisted firefighters on the ground in an attempt to stop the spread of slopover across the highway.
The Incident Management Team that is suppressing the Tamarack Fire posted on InciWeb their view about how the fire was managed during the first 12 days after it started. The statement was presumably approved by the U.S. Forest Service, the jurisdiction responsible for suppressing and/or managing the fire which was on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
“The Tamarack Fire on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest was discovered on July 4,” the statement says. “At the time, 23 other lightning fires were burning. It was a single tree burning in the Mokelumne Wilderness on a rocky ridgetop with sparse fuels and natural barriers to contain it. The steep, rugged, and remote terrain presented challenges to safely suppress this wilderness fire. With several higher priority fires in the area and due to the remote location, the sparse fuels and natural barriers, and the concern for firefighter safety, the decision was made to monitor the Tamarack Fire.”
“The Tamarack Fire was monitored daily via air and fire cameras and exhibited very little fire behavior until Friday, July 16 when fueled by extreme winds and low humidity, it progressed rapidly downslope and spread throughout the evening. With this rapid change in the fire, fire resources were dispatched on Friday, July 16. Additional firefighting resources were also ordered, including very Large Air Tankers (VLAT), Single Engine Airtankers (SEATS) and helicopters.”
Below is a still image of a Forest Service Facebook post with a video of the fire when it was a quarter acre on July 10, six days after it started. “Fire poses no threat to the public, infrastructure, or resource values,” they wrote.
The Tamarack Fire spread further east on Tuesday, crossing the state line from California into Nevada. From its origin, it has now spread 15 miles northeast and 10 miles to the north, burning 10 structures and approximately 40,000 acres.
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Tamarack Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.
From the Incident Management Team, Thursday morning, July 22:
There was active fire behavior [Wednesday] afternoon with crowning, short crown runs and prolific spotting as the winds built up. Fuels remain extremely dry. The fire grew about 10,000 acres [Wednesday] to approximately 50,129 acres. It pushed to Hwy 395 and burned north and south along the highway but did not cross the highway. Active fire also pushed towards, but didn’t cross, Hwy 88 as firefighters were able to keep the fire south of the highway. Hwy 88 & 89 remain closed in the fire area to all traffic except incident personnel. A portion of Hwy 395 closed [Wednesday] for firefighter and public safety.
Over 800 people have been evacuated and over 500 structures are threatened. There are over 1,200 personnel working on the fire and more resources are on order. Firefighting operations continued throughout the night. Night operations include structure protection and firing operations when conditions are right.
The objective for managing the fire is full suppression, and all efforts will be directed towards meeting that objective with public and firefighter safety as the highest priority. Uncontrolled fire with extreme fire behavior continues to be a threat to surrounding communities, public, and firefighters.
Wednesday afternoon the fire was pushed by 15 to 25 mph winds gusting out of the west and southwest up to 33 mph while the relative humidity was in the low teens. The forecast for the east side of the fire Thursday afternoon calls for 82 degrees, 15 percent RH, and 15 mph winds gusting out of the southwest at 24 mph. This could put more pressure on the Highway 395 corridor.
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Tamarack Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.
On Friday, conditions will be similar but with winds maxing out at 7 mph from variable directions.
The National Situation Report for Thursday reduced the number of reported structures destroyed from 10 to 8.
Resources assigned to the fire Wednesday evening included 27 crews, 96 engines, and 9 helicopters for a total of 1,213 personnel.
7:33 a.m. PDT July 21, 2021
The Tamarack Fire spread further east on Tuesday, crossing the state line from California into Nevada (see map above). The fire started July 4 southwest of Markleeville, California and from that point has now spread 15 miles northeast and 10 miles to the north.
After it passed the state line near Leviathan Mine Road it continued east. During a satellite overflight at 3:18 a.m. PDT Wednesday July 21 it was about two miles west of US Highway 395 and 5 miles northwest of the junction of 395 and Highway 208.
The Incident Management Team reports that 10 structures have been destroyed.
Tuesday night voluntary evacuations were issued “for all residents in Leviathan Mine Rd. and Holbrook Junction areas.” More information is at InciWeb.
A mapping flight at 6 p.m. PDT Tuesday determined that the fire had burned about 41,800 acres, but it continued burning later into the evening.
Resources assigned to the fire Tuesday evening included 27 hand crews, 99 engines, and 9 helicopters for a total of 1,219 personnel.
The Wilson Creek Fire in Eastern Nevada had burned about 700 acres when it was mapped Friday, but the fire was very active that evening and into the night, growing substantially. Judging from the heat detected by satellites Saturday morning it may be two to three times larger.
It was started by lightning and was reported at 10:30 a.m. May 20.
The fire is east of Highway 93, 21 miles north of Pioche, Nevada, 44 miles north of Caliente, Nevada, and 17 miles west of the Nevada/Utah border.
Below is a Friday night update from the Incident Management Team:
“The lightning-ignited fire on Mt. Wilson is burning in timber, pinyon-pine, brush, and grass. There is no immediate threat to structures or private property. Public and firefighter safety is the top priority.
“The fire today moved down and out of the rocky terrain that has been largely inaccessible to firefighters, burning through some heavy fuels and making a run into the Wilson Creek drainage.
“Ground resources suppressing the fire are one Type 1 hand crew, one Type 2 Initial Attack hand crew, and eight smokejumpers. Two additional Type 1 hand crews are en route. Also en route are two engines to support the one engine onsite, and a bulldozer. Current aerial resources are one Type 1 helicopter and one Type 2 helicopter with a Type 3 helicopter available as needed. Aerial resources earlier today included three large air tankers and five Single Engine Air Tankers, or SEATs.
“Smoke will be visible to residents and recreationists in eastern Nevada and western Utah. Motorists are encouraged to be aware of increased fire vehicle traffic in the area. The fire is 50-percent contained with full containment expected Saturday evening, June 5. It was first reported Thursday morning, May 20.”