Fast Moving Tamarack Fire Closes in on U.S. 395; Drivers Need to Stay Informed

By: 
Times Staff Report
Staff Writer

Tamarack Fire Could Close U.S. 395 near Topaz Lake; Drivers Need to Stay Informed

The fast-moving Tamarack Fire is closing in on the Holbrook Junction area of U.S. 395 as of the morning of July 21, which could trigger a closure of the road if conditions do not improve. Drivers need to stay alert: go to https://roads.dot.ca.gov/roadscell.php for updates.

Here is the latest update from fire managers, current as of 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, July 21:

Last night, the Tamarack Fire crossed the state line a short distance into Douglas County, Nevada. It remains west of Hwy 395. The fire is approximately 40,000 acres and is 0% contained. Over 1,200 personnel are working on the fire and more resources are on order. Voluntary evacuations were issued for all residents in Leviathan Mine Rd. west of Hwy 395 and Holbrook Junction areas last night. Residents can utilize the Topaz Ranch Estates (TRE) Community Center as an evacuation site. Active fire behavior continued in areas where fire has been established. Firefighting operations are continuing throughout the night. Night operations include firing operations, when conditions are right, and structure protection.

Public and firefighter safety is our highest priority. As firefighters are working along the highways and roads, we ask for your patience and request the public to limit travel to give the firefighters safe space to work

Branch I: Division O is a high priority and will see active fire. Last night, the fire crossed the Leviathan Mine Road and did cross into Nevada. The fire is approximately 3 miles west of Hwy 395. Crews worked off Hwy 395 building dozer and hand line with the goal of keeping the fire west of the highway. NV Energy will have crews with masticators working to protect the powerlines. Structure protection continues to focus on assessment and preparation. In Division K, crews continued mop up activities, improving dozer and hand lines, working to secure the fireline. Today, resources will continue to construct indirect line between Leviathan Road and the East Fork Carson River to create a barrier between the main fire and Hwy 395. Fire activity is expected to pick up this afternoon due to continued hot, dry weather.

Branch II: In the southeastern portion of the fire, in Divisions T and Z, fire behavior increased in the afternoon. The Division Supervisor and Branch Director continued to scout the area, assessing options for indirect and direct fireline construction. As additional resources arrive, crews will begin to construct fireline in the area.

Branch III: Division F, the northwest side of the fire, is another high priority area. Yesterday, there was active fire in the heavy fuels mainly due to slope alignment. Crews were putting in hand and dozer line near Hwy 88 to hold the fire south of the highway. Today, crews will strengthen the dozer line above Zelmer Road to the Carson River. A portion of Hwy 88 has been closed due to heavy fire traffic and firefighters working in the area. Hwy 89 continues to be closed throughout the fire area. Structure protection will continue to provide point protection as needed in Sierra Pines, Woodfords, Mesa Vista, Markleeville and Grover Hot Springs, along with other structures in the division.

Weather & Fuel Conditions:

Dry southwest airflow continues over the region. Unstable conditions remain with a HAINES of 5 this afternoon. The Haines index is used to indicate the potential for wildfire growth by measuring the stability and dryness of the air over a fire. The warming and drying trend continues through the week with breezy afternoon and evening “Zephyr” winds. The winds will be the driver of the fire with wind gusts of 22-25 mph predicted for today. Fuels remain very dry and fire behavior will continue to be aggressive, with potential for high rates of fire spread. Temperatures will be warmer, 78–88 degrees, and humidity will be drier at 10 – 20%.

Evacuations, Closures, and Fire Restrictions: For the latest information about pre-evacuation or evacuation notices, visit: https://www.alpinecountyca.gov/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=EVACUATION-INFORMATI...

For the latest on area, road, and trail closures and fire restrictions on National Forest lands, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/htnf/alerts-1069notices/?cid=fseprd573309 .

Temporary Flight Restriction (TRF): A TFR is in place over the Tamarack Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.

Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team

Dan Dallas, Incident Commander

Information Phones: 775-434-8629 (public), 775-434-8110 (media only)

Email: 2021.tamarack@firenet.gov

Information Staffing Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Special Note: The Rocky Mountain Area Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire yesterday at 6:00 am. A public fire information briefing was held last night, it may be viewed at www.facebook.com/tamarackfireinfo under videos or on https://bit.ly/TamarackVideo.

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