Whitehorse Daily Star

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CLEANUP UNDERWAY – Fire destroyed the salmon incubation facility on McIntyre Creek last Saturday. Structural damage is estimated at $50,000 to $60,000. Photo by MARK PRINS

Loss of fish called ‘very unfortunate’

The fire that destroyed the salmon incubation facility on McIntyre Creek was related to thawing frozen pipes, says the investigator from the Whitehorse Fire Department.

By Chuck Tobin on April 3, 2018

The fire that destroyed the salmon incubation facility on McIntyre Creek was related to thawing frozen pipes, says the investigator from the Whitehorse Fire Department.

Fire prevention officer Wayne Smyth explained this morning there had been a man at the facility last Saturday working to thaw pipes in the building where more than 40,000 chinook and chum fry were being reared for release this year.

The early-afternoon fire off Mountainview Drive started after the person had left, Smyth told the Star.

Smyth said the structural damage is estimated at $50,000 to $60,000, though it’s difficult to put a value on the lost salmon fry.

“They had been having problems with frozen pipes, and I believe the fire was started by the thawing of the pipes,” he said.

“It’s not uncommon at all at this time of year to have pipes freezing up.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Smyth said of the loss to the salmon stocking program overseen by Yukon College in partnership with First Nations.

College communication officer Michael Vernon said this morning instructor Darrell Otto of the school of science and the supervisor for the McIntyre Creek incubation project had been at the facility installing heat trace.

They are trying to figure out now if there was an electrical issue or a problem with the heat trace, he said.

Vernon said they are focused on assessing the damage and ensuring a proper cleanup of the site.

They’ll be meeting with representatives of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council and the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation to discuss how they’ll move forward with the stocking programs, he explained.

Vernon said there were between 25,000 and 30,000 chinook fry from the Whitehorse Fish Hatchery being reared there to support the Fox Creek salmon restoration project managed by the Ta’an Kwach’an of Lake Laberge.

There were also an estimated 16,000 chum salmon fry from eggs taken at the Fishing Branch River near Old Crow in support of the Vuntut Gwitchin’s restoration efforts.

Vernon explained there are still 1,200 chinook fry at elementary schools around Whitehorse that are part of the Ta’an project. They will still be released in Fox Creek this year.

Comments (3)

Up 2 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Apr 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

A sad outcome to be sure, albiet the real impact will not be felt for another few years when the returning adult salmon will be lesser in spawning numbers. Kudos to Taan, the College, the Yukon Fish and Game Assn. and all others who work to restore our dwindling salmon stocks. I appriciate your good work.

Up 1 Down 4

jack on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:05 am

Is there going to be day of mourning, flags at half-staff?

Up 2 Down 3

Josey Wales on Apr 3, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Translation...it will be the latest excuse for cultural elite fishing only.
Not that one is needed in today’s PC Crusaders Yukon.

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