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Gila fire prompts rescue of threatened fish

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. As of  late Sunday, the fire had burned more than 296,000 acres. It is 80 percent contained. For up-to-date information on the fire, visit: http://inciweb.org/incident/2870/

For additional about the Gila trout and efforts by biologists to protect them, visit Friday's blogpost on KUNM's Earth Air Waves: http://earthairwaves.kunm.org/2012/06/14/fire-causes-trouble-for-gila-trout/