Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1200 Franklin Way
Sparks, NV 89431
To answer the question as to why the Tamarack Fire is still only 82% contained, we’d like to explain the difference between containment and confinement. Containment is wildfire a suppression action signifying that a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire's spread. Confinement is a strategy employed in appropriate management responses where a fire perimeter is managed by a combination of direct and indirect actions and use of natural topographic features, fuel, and weather factors.
Both containment and confinement are part of a full suppression strategy. Approximately 82% of the Tamarack Fire is being managed for containment. Due to extremely rugged terrain and minimal fire activity, approximately 18% of the fire is being managed for confinement to maximize firefighter safety and utilize natural barriers to fire spread.
For the Tamarack Fire, fire officials have conducted extensive fire computer modeling under different conditions to determine under which conditions the fire would spread. The probability of the fire spreading toward values at risk (natural or cultural resources, structures) is low according to the forecasting models. The most probable wind direction and speed predict that the fire would most likely burn back on itself and away from the values at risk. In addition, the confined area is in very steep and dangerous terrain and it is unsafe to deploy firefighters physically in the area.
The entire fire perimeter will be staffed and patrolled as long as there is active fire behavior. The confinement area is staffed with specialized wildland firefighters who constantly watch the fire on the ground and with drones and cameras and take appropriate suppression actions when warranted. They are supported by aircraft and additional ground crews.
There will be continual assessment of the incident by ongoing personnel in the Tamarack footprint to determine the necessity of future suppression treatments as rehabilitation/repair work proceeds.