CNN

Thousands of dead fish are washing up along a California river. It’s because of a massive wildfire and flash floods, the Karuk Tribe says

Aug 6, 2022, 8:23 PM | Updated: 8:24 pm
dead fish at a small tributary of the Klamath River, near Happy Camp, California, on August 5, 2022...
This image, courtesy of the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources, shows dead fish at a small tributary of the Klamath River, near Happy Camp, California, on August 5, 2022.

(CNN) — “Tens of thousands” of dead fish have washed up along the Klamath River in the area of Happy Camp in northern California this week — a phenomenon that’s tied to a dangerous combination of flash flooding and the McKinney Fire that’s burning in the area, according to Craig Tucker, a policy advocate for the Karuk Tribe.

The blaze, which has killed at least four people, erupted on July 29 in the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon border. It’s the largest wildfire in California so far this year.
 
Meanwhile, intense thunderstorms and heavy rains that rolled through the region this week prompted a flash flood warning for Klamath River from the National Weather Service on Tuesday. Officials warned that areas that had been burned by the wildfire were at higher risk of floods and mudflows — because of the lack of vegetation that would have otherwise been there to help absorb the water.
 
According to the US Geological Survey, “fast-moving, highly destructive debris flows” caused by heavy rainfall are “one of the most dangerous post-fire hazards.”
 
According to a news release from the Karuk Tribe, their preliminary observations suggest “massive debris flows” following the flash floods in areas impacted by the blaze are the cause for the dead fish.
 
“We know the dissolved oxygen in the river plummeted two nights in a row as these pulses of mud hit the main stem of the river, so it is very clear to us that we had a high intensity fire and then we had a flash flooding event kind of come behind the fire and it just rushed ash and debris and mud into the river,” Tucker told CNN on Saturday.
 
“Virtually everything in the river died,” he said, adding that they don’t yet know for how many miles of the river the dead fish stretch as the area is still largely restricted because of the blaze.
 
“We are trying to work with the incident command for these wildfires to do a real assessment,” Tucker said. “We see there are thousands of fish floating downstream, but we really are having a difficult time figuring out how bad it is.”
 
Dead fish have been seen as far as 20 miles from the source of the debris flow, the tribe’s news release said.
 
“The severity of the event is impossible to characterize until biologists can make direct observations in currently restricted areas,” the release said, adding it’s unknown how this might affect the fall migration of Chinook salmon, which is just starting.
 
The fire, which has been burning in Siskiyou County for more than a week, has scorched more than 60,000 acres of land and was 30% contained as of Saturday morning as hot, dry and breezy conditions continued, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
 
Its cause is under investigation, officials said.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Three Fresh Carnitas Tacos on a plate wth lime and radish...
Casey Barber, CNN

Make every day National Taco Day with these tasty recipes

October 4 is National Taco Day, but any day in October (or any month, really) is a worthwhile opportunity to dive into the diverse world of tacos.
1 day ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) with Ukrainian separatist regional leaders Vladimir Saldo (L),...
Olga Voitovych and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Russian Parliament begins process to rubber-stamp annexations as Moscow struggles to define borders

Despite there being no set boundaries, Russia's parliament began the process of approving Vladmir Putin's decision to annex part of Ukraine.
1 day ago
FILE - This photo provided by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un del...
Yoonjung Seo, Emiko Jozuka, Junko Ogura, Brad Lendon and Simone McCarthy, CNN

Japan issues rare alert as North Korea fires missile without warning over main island

The US Indo-Pacific Command also released a statement saying American commitments to the defense of Japan and South Korea "remain ironclad."
1 day ago
FORT MYERS BEACH, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 02:   In this aerial view,  destruction left in the wake of Hur...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Florida faces an ’emotional roller coaster’ as search for Hurricane Ian survivors continues

Many of the Ian-related deaths -- 42 -- have been reported in southwestern Florida's Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.
2 days ago
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Sacheen Littlefeather on stage at AMPAS Presents An Evening...
Toyin Owoseje, CNN

Sacheen Littlefeather, Native American activist and actress, dead at 75

In August, the Academy formally apologized to Littlefeather for the mistreatment she experienced during her speech and in the years that followed.
2 days ago
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said that he will vote against any potential congressional d...
Devan Cole, CNN

Rubio vows to oppose potential Hurricane Ian aid package if lawmakers ‘load it up with stuff that’s unrelated to the storm’

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he will vote against any potential congressional disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Ian if lawmakers "load it up with stuff that's unrelated to the storm."
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Thousands of dead fish are washing up along a California river. It’s because of a massive wildfire and flash floods, the Karuk Tribe says