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Jul 26, 2012 6:58 AM by Kate Richards

Wildfires destroy fences, burn food and kill cattle; effects are ongoing and expensive

VOLBORG, Mont. (AP) - The surge in wildfires across the West this summer is taking its toll on the livestock industry.

Ranchers and officials say the blazes have killed animals outright while destroying some food supplies for the stock. In addition hundreds of miles of fence and numerous corrals and water tanks must be rebuilt. Thousands of head of displaced livestock are being shipped to temporary pastures.

Cecil and Delores Kolka thought they escaped the worst of Montana's Ash Creek Fire when the blaze spared their home and several pastures.

But when the family went to round up their livestock they found an estimated 400 killed by the fire.

The problems are apparent in Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of grazing land have burned so far - with months to go in the annual fire season.

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