Southeastern Colorado counties assuming more of storm cleanup

By: AP
By: AP

Counties are taking over more of the cleanup efforts in southeastern Colorado -- where a series of winter storms has dumped several feet of snow.

The Colorado National Guard and state emergency crews have been plowing snow and helping ranchers rescue thousands of cattle stranded on the range without food and water.

Laura McConnell is a spokeswoman for a state team coordinating the efforts. She says the eight counties affected are taking over more of the work, and ranchers are reaching more of their animals on their own.

But the state crews and equipment are ready if needed again. More snow is forecast for parts of Colorado later this week.

About 3,500 cattle are believed to have died during a storm that hit southeast Colorado right before New Year's Day.

The National Guard helped drop bales of hay to cattle from helicopters. Ground deliveries are still under way.

President Bush has cleared the way for counties along the Front Range to seek federal reimbursement for snow removal, police overtime and other expenses.

Colorado Senator Ken Salazar is urging a similar declaration to get help for ranchers.

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