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Burros die amid 110-degree heat in San Bernardino County

August 24, 2010 |  5:41 pm

Federal officials used helicopters Tuesday to bring thousands of gallons of water to dehydrated burros trapped in a remote area near Needles after a number of the animals died amid 110-degree heat.

The burros, which had perished from dehydration, had clogged up a spring in the area and prevented several dozen other burros from reaching the water in the Piute Mountain Wilderness Area about 35 miles west of Needles, officials said.

A local rancher alerted officials with the Bureau of Land Management, which organized the emergency airlift. By Tuesday afternoon, helicopters had brought 4,000 gallons of water to fill troughs that were set up for the animals, the agency said.

Rusty Lee of the Bureau of Land Management said the rancher "saved the lives of the remaining burros."

The agency was planning to conduct a inquiry into the incident.

-- Robert J. Lopez