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We describe a detailed model for the dynamical and spectral properties of quantum dash (quantum wire assembly) lasers. We use a self-consistent semiclassical theory for a multimode laser field which interacts with an inhomogeneously broadened assembly of quantum wires via the quantum mechanical radiation-matter interaction. Our comprehensive coupled equations are spectrally resolved enabling to study accurately the effect of the gain inhomogeneity. Carrier-carrier and carrier-phonon scattering are also included. We highlight the effective capture rate which is determined by the ratio between the number of states in the reservoir and in the assembly, the energetic region into which carriers are captured and the width of the inhomogeneously broadened gain. Specifically, we demonstrate that a large number of states ratio lowers both the linear optical differential gain and the nonlinear gain coefficient. We show that gain suppression dominates when a realistic energy range into which capture takes place is considered as well as for small number of states ratios. In addition, we show that the width of the inhomogeneous broadening plays a relatively small role. We conclude that the differential gain and nonlinear damping can not be optimized simultaneously. These results point therefore to the clear advantages offered by laser structures which employ non conventional carrier injection schemes such as tunnelling barrier or n-type δ-doping regions.