Douglas County on alert as Tamarack fire moves east

Douglas County on alert as Tamarack fire moves east
A scene from the Tamarack fire on July 17, 2021. Image: Ty O'Neil / This Is Reno

GARDNERVILLE–Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley said there are several areas of concern for Carson Valley residents as the Tamarack fire in California continues to grow and move in a northeasterly direction. His comments were part of a community update Tuesday night by regional officials.

There are no evacuation orders in effect for Douglas County, however sheriff’s deputies have alerted residents in two areas to be prepared should conditions worsen. The two areas officials are monitoring are the Fredericksburg Road area from the state line to Foothill Road and north to Centerville Lane, and Highway 395 from Ruhenstroth (near the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery) to the state line at Topaz.

Sheriff Coverley said residents should have a plan if evacuations become mandatory, and said residents would be contacted in person or via Reverse 911 should that happen. He encouraged people to plan ahead and prepare as power outages and road closures could coincide with the need for evacuation.

The Tamarack fire has burned more than 39,000 acres in nearby Alpine County, California, spreading rapidly beginning July 16 after being monitored since its start by a lightning strike on July 4. Nearly 1,100 personnel have been called to work the fire, but officials said they’ve yet to reach any containment.

A horse grazes while the Tamarack fire burns in the nearby hills on July 17, 2021.
A horse grazes while the Tamarack fire burns in the nearby hills on July 17, 2021. Image: Ty O’Neil / This Is Reno

“Though this is a full suppression fire, because of the steep terrain, fuel types, and expected weather, the Tamarack fire could be a long duration incident. Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority,” U.S. Forest Service officials said in their latest incident report.

Several officials from the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team shared details on the fire’s movement and fire suppression efforts. The team has taken over command of the fire as it has grown and become more complex. They said crews are working 24 hours a day and additional resources are being called in as needed.

Incident Commander Dan Dallas praised local elected and agency officials for supporting fire resources and working with the community. He said it continues to be a dynamic situation on the fire line until crews can get some more control.

Clearer skies, he said, have allowed for aerial operations to resume, however they also create more solar radiation which heats up the fuels on the ground.

Dozer and hand crews are working to keep the fire south of Highway 88 along the northwest edge of the line, according to operations manager Pat Seekins, also with the Rocky Mountain team. He said the northeastern and eastern edge of the fire are also a priority, and on Tuesday fire activity picked up within a half mile of the state line. Crews in that area are looking for options to put in a dozer line.

“There’s a lot of potential for this fire to move around,” he said. Teams are looking for natural barriers, including rocks, fire scars and existing road systems, to keep the fire from progressing further east.

For updates on the fire visit A Facebook page has also been created to share updates on the fire,