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Climate-fueled Wildfires Worsen Danger for Struggling Fish

Fish biologists release Rio Grande cutthroat trout into a new creek after rescuing them from a fire Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, near Amalia, N.M. Wildlife agencies in the southwestern U.S. consider missions like this essential as climate change brings more frequent and hotter wildfires, fueled by prolonged drought and tree-killing bug infestations. (AP Photo/Brittany Peterson)
Fish biologists release Rio Grande cutthroat trout into a new creek after rescuing them from a fire Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, near Amalia, N.M. Wildlife agencies in the southwestern U.S. consider missions like this essential as climate change brings more frequent and hotter wildfires, fueled by prolonged drought and tree-killing bug infestations. (AP Photo/Brittany Peterson)

Amalia, N.M. (AP) -- Biologist Bryan Bakevich unscrewed the top of a plastic bucket and removed a Rio Grande cutthroat trout that squirmed from his grasp and plopped onto the grassy bank of Middle Ponil Creek.

“He wants to go home,” Bakevich said, easing the fish into the chilly, narrow stream — the final stop on a three-month, 750-mile (1,207-kilometer) odyssey for this cutthroat and 107 others plucked in June from another stream in mountainous northern New Mexico.