ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Biologists are trying to save a threatened trout species in southwestern New Mexico, even as crews around the West struggle to contain blazes that have charred hundreds of square miles of forested countryside.
The concern is that after the fires, summer rains could choke waterways with ash, soil and charred debris. A team is using electroshocking devices to temporarily stun the Gila (HEE'-luh) trout. The fish are then scooped up and ferried to a hatchery in northern New Mexico for safe keeping.
The fish wranglers are focusing on small creeks deep within the perimeter of the Whitewater-Baldy fire. The blaze has charred more than 450 square miles of the forest. It's the largest in New Mexico's history and is 63 percent contained.
Crews are also battling fires in Arizona, Alaska, Washington and Colorado. So far this year, fires have scorched more than 1 million acres across the county.
Nearly 1,400 firefighters are working the 84-square-mile High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colo. Officials there say at least 112 homes have been damaged or destroyed already and the number is expected to grow.
014-r-08-(wind, blowing through part of Livermore that's threatened by fire.)--Wind is increasing the wildfire threat in Livermore, Colorado. (16 Jun 2012)
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011-a-05-(Bob Pichi (PIHK'-ee), Livermore resident, in AP interview)-"do some good"-Livermore resident Bob Pichi says he's working hard to protect his home from wildfire before he evacuates. (16 Jun 2012)
<<CUT *011 (06/16/12)>> 00:05 "do some good"
015-r-14-(helicopters, dipping water out of a pond to use on nearby wildfires)--Helicopters have been used to dip water out of a pond to use on wildfires in the Livermore, Colorado, area. (16 Jun 2012)
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APPHOTO COEA101: A Erickson Air Crane firefighting helicopter flys to a pond to refill its tank while fighting the High Park wildfire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Friday, June 15, 2012. The wildfire started Saturday and has burned over 50,000 acres. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) (15 Jun 2012)
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APPHOTO COEA108: Army National Guard firefights sit on top of one of their fire trucks and sharpen their tools in the Glacier View sub-division near Livermore, Colo., on Friday, June 15, 2012. As members of the 1157 Engineering Unit out of Fort Collins, Colo., they are standing by to assist on defending homes from fire in the area that was evacuated because of the High Park wildfire. The wildfire started Saturday and has burned more than 50,000 acres. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) (15 Jun 2012)
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APPHOTO CODEN101: A helicopter flew through the Cache La Poudre Canyon, Colo. as flames scorched the forest south of the river on Thursday, June 14, 2012. Flames crossed over the Poudre River causing a mandatory evacuation for residents of the Glacier View area. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Karl Gehring) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT (14 Jun 2012)
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APPHOTO COEA107: A sign warns motorist of the closure of Highway 14 through Poudre Canyon as columns of smoke rise in the distance from the High Park wildfire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Friday, June 15, 2012. The wildfire started Saturday and has burned over 50,000 acres. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) (15 Jun 2012)
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