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Officials Warn Stranded Stragglers The Time To Evacuate Is Now

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Big Thompson River

People stand next to a washed out bridge by the Big Thompson River on Sept. 17, 2013. (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Hundreds of people are still waiting to be rescued from canyons and mountainous terrain in western Larimer County after Colorado’s historic flooding, but there are some who say they don’t want to leave.

More than a dozen National Guard helicopters have been flying air rescues. Troops on Monday dropped off dozens of evacuees and pets and they were taken by buses to shelters. But the help won’t be available forever.

“We’re not able to continue to do food and water drops to people that refuse to evacuate on an ongoing basis,” said Nick Christensen, Larimer County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Residents who are refusing to leave are perhaps staying on their land to protect the property or protect their animals.

Horse trainer Jeff Burley told CBS4 he can sympathize with those who are reluctant to leave livestock.

“It is hard for others to understand what the animals mean to us,” Burley said. “They are like children.”

Most of the horses Burley works with at T & L Quarter Horses of Greeley escaped the South Platte River flooding there last Friday. Five horses had to be left behind.

“There was no getting to the property at all,” Burley said. “I didn’t sleep Friday night because we didn’t know if he would find our animals dead or alive.”

Those horses were later found and are recovering and most of the T & L horses are now being cared for at the ranch events compound in Loveland.

Christensen and other officials warn that stranded stragglers may have to make a choice soon.

“Life safety is paramount. Everything else can be repaired or replaced,” he said.

Read more about the rescue at T & L Quarter Horses on the website of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

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