Russian forestry officials say eight firefighters have been killed in a massive forest fire in southern Siberia near the border with Mongolia.
The Federal Forestry Agency said Thursday that the victims were part of a team of 14 who parachuted in to extinguish a blaze that was raging across the forested Sayan mountains in the Tyva region.
The agency said a sudden change of wind Wednesday could have caused the blaze to spread and trapped the firemen. It said the other six managed to get out of the burning forest, but were hospitalized in serious condition with heavy burns.
Forest blazes have rapidly spread across the region this week, blanketing the regional capital, Kyzyl, with smoke and halting traffic on a major highway.
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