McKinney Fire has killed tens of thousands of fish -

McKinney Fire has killed tens of thousands of fish

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features smoke from the McKinney Fire, which has been burning for more than a week in the Klamath National Forest of Northern California. According to NASA, it is the state’s largest and deadliest wildland fire so far this year.

“From ignition on July 29 through the time of this image, the McKinney Fire burned more than 60,000 acres (243 square kilometers) of timber, brush, and grass. It was 40 percent contained by midday on August 8,” says NASA.

The fire originated in a largely unpopulated area of Siskiyou County, and the cause is under investigation. A smaller cluster of wildfires, known as the Yeti Complex, was sparked by lightning to the west of the McKinney Fire. 

The image was captured on August 6, 2022 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. 

“Some of the smoke that day billowed from the McKinney Fire (east), but a significant amount poured from the Yeti Complex (west). Communities along the Klamath River, including Seiad Valley and Klamath River, saw air quality decline to ‘very unhealthy’ levels,” says NASA.

“Gusty winds are expected in the vicinity of the McKinney Fire on August 8, and a red flag warning is in effect through the evening. News reports indicate that nearly 90 homes have been destroyed and five people have died.”

“In early August, heavy rain slowed the fire but spurred flooding and debris flows on the newly burned ground. Biologists think a debris flow that entered the Kalamath River likely cut oxygen levels in the water, which likely led to the death of tens of thousands of fish.”

The Karuk Tribe said in a statement that dead fish of all species were found Friday near Happy Camp, California, along the main stem of the Klamath River.

“We think the impact is limited to 10 or 20 miles of river in this reach and the fish we are seeing in Happy Camp and below are floating downstream from the ‘kill zone,'” the tribe said.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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