Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff provided the following update on the impacts of Oregon’s current wildfires on its properties.
Several fish hatcheries are in areas evacuated or burned by recent wildfires including Rock Creek, Clackamas, McKenzie, Leaburg, Minto, Marion Forks, Salmon River and Klamath hatcheries.
Most importantly, no lives were lost among ODFW hatchery staff and their families who had to evacuate. Unfortunately, critical infrastructure was lost and fish were also lost, with Rock Creek Hatchery on the North Umpqua River sustaining the most severe damage followed by Klamath, Leaburg, and Minto. In some cases, staff were able to transfer some adult fish to other facilities, or fish were released. A few other ODFW facilities are at Level 1 or 2 evacuation status, including the Clackamas regional office, South Santiam/Foster, Dexter, Roaring River, Sandy and Cole Rivers. Staff are moving equipment offsite and have developed contingency plans for fish holding or release if moved to Level 3.
“We are still very much in the emergency response phase. The safety and security of our staff is priority one, and we have dozens of staff who have been impacted by the evacuations from their homes,” said ODFW Deputy Director Shannon Hurn. “As the state sees more stability and abatement of active fires, we will determine over the next week or two the extent of the fish loss and damage. Then, it will be time for long-term planning for repairing, replacing and funding the recovery of our infrastructure.
On behalf of the Department I would like to say thank you to all the firefighters and those volunteer on the front lines. We are very aware that the damage at several of our hatcheries would have been much more extensive without them,” continued Hurn. “Also, I’d like to say thank you to Oregon’s law enforcement, cities, counties and other community services for the relief they are providing. It is heartening to see these small forested communities rally together in the face of such devastation.”