(NBC News) -- Search and rescue teams continue to provide a life-line to hundreds stranded by the flood waters in northern Colorado.
In many areas the only way out is by air while on the ground crews continue to push into communities cut off from the outside for almost a full week.
"we got out and using manual labor, shovels, axes and the chain saws, we built our own little bridges over some running water, cleaned up mudslides, and made ways around" said Pike Hotshot Superintendent Robert Ayotte.
Clearing the way for recovery teams, who now face a difficult mission.
"Going house to house searching debris piles, searching vehicles actively looking for victims and the deceased," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.
But in some areas the damage is so severe it will be months before there's a way in or out on the ground.
Officials have a stern warning now for those who have refused to leave.
"We are hoping that many of those reconsider or make sure they are ready for winter at this point and can shelter in place for many many months," said Nick Christensen of the Larimer County Sheriff's Department.
-- Jay Gray, NBC News reports