Haunting photos show massive fish kill after floods wash Australian bushfire ash into river

Hundreds of thousands of fish have been suffocated after ash from the Australian wildfires washed into the Macleay River in New South Wales.

Piles of dead fish were seen washed up on the river’s banks and turned over in the body of water, located in Bellbrook.

Local resident Arthur Bain shared photos and video footage of the aftermath of flash flooding that took place on Jan. 11, which brought ash to the river, effectively suffocating the animals.

“Recent rain upriver has brought a significant rise in the river,” he wrote on Facebook. “The downside is that the ash from recent fires has depleted the oxygen and fish are dying, gasping on the riverbank.”

Photos posted to Bain’s Facebook account show samples of what he says is water taken from the river, which he describes as “thick and sludgy.”

Bain said he counted 200 fish at first around the Bellbrook Bridge, but he figures the number must be much higher now.

“It’d be in the hundreds of thousands,” he told ABC, adding: “It’s pretty devastating if you’re looking at a 60-kilometre stretch of river. It’s left mud and rotten fish, so we’ve got quite a smell issue at the moment.”

Unfortunately, fish kills of this nature aren’t anything new for Australia, a country that sees many wildfires cause this kind of aftermath. The scale is what makes it different this time, Bain said.

“We’ve had fish kills before. It happens after fires, we know that,” he told 7news. “But this has just been on a scale that’s never been seen before.”

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