Wildfire in Texas
A cloud of smoke rises from a wildfire as it burns out of control near Bastrop, Texas, September 5, 2011. Reuters

Thousands of Texas minnows have been rescued from a major river that is drying up due to a severe drought.

Scientists saved more than 3,000 smalleye shiners and sharpnose shiners from the Brazos River, the Associated Press reported.

We value these species and they are an important part of the Texas natural heritage, so we're trying to prevent losing them in this drought, Texas Tech University fish ecology professor Gene Wilde said, the AP reported. Wilde led the fish rescues.

The fish will be taken to a hatchery until the weather gets better, the AP reported.

The rescues come during record heat in Texas that has caused major drought conditions and spawned massive wildfires throughout the state.

Large portions of eastern and southern Texas are under high and very high fire warnings, and burn bans have been issued in virtually every county, according to the Texas Forest Service.