Before a wildfire grew into an out-of-control blaze, the Forest Service decided to let it burn

The Tamarack Fire burns in Alpine County, California, on Saturday, July 17.

(CNN)A massive wildfire raging out of control in the rugged mountains straddling the California-Nevada border, tearing through tens of thousands of acres was initially determined by US Forest Service officials to not be a threat and allowed to burn.

The lightning-sparked Tamarack Fire, first discovered on July 4 in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, was initially confined to a single tree burning on a ridgetop "with sparse fuels and natural barriers to contain it," according to the Forest Service, which posted a video of the small smoldering fire in a Facebook post.
"The tactical management decision is not to insert fire crews due to safety concerns, however, this is not an unresponsive approach," the Forest Service said in a July 10 Facebook post along with the video. "Smoke might be visible to Pacific Crest Trail hikers but the .25 acre fire is surrounded by granite rocks, a small lake and sparse fuels."
      Despite the Forest Service's statement, which assured that the fire "poses no threat to the public, infrastructure or resource values," the wildfire has since gone on to scorch 58,417 acres and at least 10 structures in California and Nevada.
        As of Friday afternoon, it was only 4% contained, with more than a thousand firefighting personnel on scene.
          The decision to not initially put out the fire has outraged lawmakers in California and Nevada.
          In a letter to Forest Service Chief Vickie Christiansen dated Tuesday, California Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents the rugged Sierra Nevada region where the fire was sparked, demanded to know "why there was a lack of suppression action to combat the Tamarack Fire that began on July 4, 2021 until after July 10, 2021," according to a statement from his office.