July 12, 2024

The Pizen Switch Times

Established 2021

Large Air Tanker (LAT) dropping fire retardant. Photo courtesy of Don Zirbel.

Tamarack Fire Morning Update: Sunday July 25th

Don Zirbel is the administrator of the Eastern Sierra Fire & Ice facebook page:

“The Eastern Sierra region is defined as the area along the eastern Sierra Nevada including Carson City, Washoe, Douglas and southern Lyon Counties in Nevada; and Alpine, Mono and Inyo Counties of California.
Eastern Sierra Fire & Ice covers alerts, updates and pertinent information regarding wildfires, prescribed burns, natural disasters, weather-related road conditions, school closures, snow accumulations and other important travel info in the Eastern Sierra region.”
In a comprehensive update this morning, Sunday, July 25th, Mr. Zirbel wrote:
“Acres burned: 66,744
Containment: 27%
Official acreage count remains unchanged from yesterday; containment percentage has increased to 27%. (Fluctuations and discrepancies in acreage count should be expected now, as officials are able to get a better handle on actual acreage with the slowing of fire progression.)
Firefighters reached a turning point with this fire over the past two days and gained the upper hand on the eastward fire spread (Division O). Fire has been effectively boxed in by various combinations of retardant lines, dozer lines and handlines combined with bucket drops from helos. Firefighters feel that the fire has stablized enough that 395 south of Holbrook Junction should be reopened soon, hopefully today. No word yet on 395 between Holbrook and China Springs.
Over in the Pinenuts above Minnehaha Canyon, air and ground crews were similarly able to stop fire progression eastward toward Smith Valley and northward. Still lots of work to be done in these areas before full containment can be declared, but we’re much closer to that goal now.
During this morning’s crew briefing, supervisors used the term “backhaul” while laying out the operations for today. Backhaul is the process of retrieving unneeded fire equipment (hose, pumps, hand tools, chainsaws, etc) back out of the fire area to begin restoring it for the next fire – a process which happens when the fire has reached a level of stability.
Tamarack Fire Supression Division Map: the green line outside of the perimeter is where firefighters will be working. Map shared from Don Zirbel.
Things have improved enough in Division O around Holbrook, 395 and TRE that more resources can now be shifted over to Division Q, over the ridge west of Holbrook. (See the close-up map … the green line outside of the perimeter is where firefighters will be working.) This area of the perimeter is in difficult terrain and firefighters will be working on direct line containment with hotshot crews and helo drops. There may be some backfiring operations taking place in that area today depending on conditions.
Visibility today is not looking good enough for heavy tankers to operate; Reno-Stead is receiving falling ash from the Dixie Fire in addition to the smoke, making it unsafe for flying. But the helos will be back at it today, helping crews on the ground.”
Don Zirbel is a former Engineer/Paramedic, retired from the Clackamas Fire District in Oregon.