DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — The restoration of the Animas River is underway, as Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have poured 1,500 rainbow trout into the river. The Durango Herald reports the restocking Thursday was the first significant restocking of fish in the Animas since mudslides and floods from a wildfire burn scar over the summer caused a near complete die-off in the waterway.

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

The first reported fish kills as a result of runoff from the blaze burn scar happened in mid-July. A massive storm that caused heavy flooding around July 17 is thought to have killed most of the fish in the Animas.

When rain hits an area that has experienced wildfire, a deluge of dirt and ash into a river can cut off oxygen and suffocate fish and other aquatic life.

Thursday’s stocking is the first step in what’s expected to be a yearslong effort.

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

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