DURANGO, Colo. (KDVR) – Newly discovered San Juan cutthroat trout were saved during the 416 Fire in Durango. “The Fish & the Flame,” a new documentary film, tells the story of a Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and a ranch manager who teamed up to recover some of the last remaining populations of the fish species.

The fire put the nearly-extinct San Juan cutthroat trout in peril, CPW aquatic biologist Jim White and Banded Peak Ranch manager Tim Haarmann figured out a way to rescue 58 fish.

“The awesome thing is that the fish is still around and that we have a chance to not only conserve it but to expand its population,” White said. 

A free virtual screening of the documentary film will be held at 5 p.m. on Jan. 10., followed by a question and answer session. Register for the film screening here.

The species was once believed to be extinct. A tiny population of cutthroats was discovered in streams of the San Juan River Basin in 2018, not long before the 416 Fire released toxic chemicals into the water.

“There are a lot of folks out there that really want to see native species flourish. That gives me hope about the future of cutthroat trout,” White said. 

White and the CPW team continue to restore the fish to waters in the San Juan River Basin.