Anvil Fire evacuations forces release of thousands of fish into Elk River

CURRY COUNTY, Ore. – The Anvil Fire is wreaking havoc on a nearby fish hatchery, forcing ODFW to release thousands of fish.

The fire, east of Port Orford, is about a mile away from the ‘Elk River Hatchery’ in Curry County.

Roughly 265,000 ‘Elk River Chinook’ were released in the river, around a month earlier than normal.

Another 140,000 ‘Chetco River Fall Chinook‘ were also let go early.

Plus, about 60,000 ‘Umpqua River Fall Chinook‘ were transported by truck to acclimation pens in Winchester Bay.

“Our concern was once our staff left, because of our evacuation, if we didn’t have folks on site to maintain water flows and clean the in-take screen, we likely would have had a major fish loss,” ODFW regional hatchery coordinator Ryan Couture said.

Any falling ash or debris could clog screen and significantly reduce oxygen for the fish.

Water flow could have also been disrupted if water was shut off for firefighting efforts.

Once the fish were transported or released, ODFW said the four staffers on site were able to evacuate safely.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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