Tamarack Fire: TRE and Topaz Lake evacuations lifted

Satellite mapping shows a reduction in the amount of active fire on the Tamarack Fire on Sunday morning.

Satellite mapping shows a reduction in the amount of active fire on the Tamarack Fire on Sunday morning.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Evacuations were lifted for Topaz Ranch Estates and Topaz Lake at 2 p.m. Sunday, with residents allowed to return home.

The area from Holbrook Junction north remains under evacuation and Highway 395 from Holbrook to Leviathan Mine Road is closed as NV Energy works to restore power.

Highway 208 and Highway 395 south of Holbrook were reopened around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Douglas officials said they hoped to have Highway 395 completely open by 6 a.m. Monday, depending on weather and fire conditions.

Lyon County lifted its evacuation alert for Smith Valley. Smith Valley High School has served as an evacuation center for 240 southern Douglas residents.

The Tamarack Fire grew another 7,632 acres on Saturday to reach 104 square miles, representing a 14th of the total area of Douglas and Alpine counties combined. 

An estimated two dozen structures have been claimed in the fire which stretches 20 miles from the Sierra where it started to the Pine Nuts where it threatened the 1,600 residents of Topaz Ranch Estates.

Fire mapping on Sunday morning showed active fire burning over the previous 12 hours had decreased to two spots along the fire’s southern flank, with one west of Topaz Lake and another near Leviathan Mine.

Containment of the Tamarack Fire has jumped to 27 percent on Sunday.

Hot spots on near Woodfords and Blue Lakes have disappeared from the mapping.

"This follows a second consecutive day in which conditions allowed firefighters to directly engage the edge of the fire on several fronts," fire officials said. "Crews will work to continue that progress today, with the 395 corridor and the southern edge of the fire among the top priorities."

The estimated number of people of evacuated is now 2,289.

Challenges include smoke coming from the Tamarack Fire and the Dixie Fire, which is burning to the northwest. Reduced visibility could limit the use of firefighting aircraft. There is also the potential for severe winds and lightning caused by thunderstorms moving into the area this afternoon.

While the air quality monitor in Ranchos Aspen Park was reading 159 at 6 a.m., which is in the unhealthy category, it was trending toward better quality.

That decrease in quality was accompanied by a dip in visibility to 1.5 miles as the southwest breeze blew in more smoke from the fire. By 7:15 a.m. visibility at Minden-Tahoe Airport was back up to 7 miles, showing how a slight shift in the wind can change the air quality.

Persistent smoke is expected to continue through until this afternoon when light west winds push it off to the east, but the smoke will be back tonight.

All Douglas County and most Alpine County evacuations remain in place this morning. Before they're lifted, officials will balance how many firefighters are working in an area, damage to roads, removal of trees or debris on the highway, damage to utilities and public health considerations.

NV Energy reported that more than 30 power poles were destroyed in the fire delaying restoration of electricity to 287 homes and businesses along the Highway 395 corridor to Monday morning.

Highways 395, 88, 89 and 4 remain closed in the fire area.

On Sunday, Alpine County and El Dorado County sheriff’s offices will conduct escorts for evacuees into the fire area to secure pets, papers and emergency items. Escorts will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30-5 p.m. Locations in the evacuation area are dependent on fire activity.

No similar escorts in Douglas County along Highway 395 have been announced as of Sunday morning.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment