Firefighters tackling a massive forest blaze in Russia have been given armed guards to protect them from randy bears in the middle of their breeding season.
The fire has been raging through Nora Nature Reserve for six days, spreading into neighbouring forests and woodlands.
Scores of emergency workers are battling the blaze, but Russian media said that firefighters have encountered an unexpected problem – bears.
There are reportedly many brown bears in the nature reserve and it is currently mating season, so the animals are very aggressive.
They are also terrified of the fire and try to hide in trees.
Nature reserve director Timofey Mudrak told local media that armed inspectors will be sent to the firefighting site to deter the bears from attacking.
Firefighters also have to face the extra hazard of bears, which have fled up trees to escape the flames, falling on top of them.
One firefighter told local media: “You walk around and fear that a bear will fall on you from a tree.”
The footage shows one instance of a terrified bear cub hiding in a tree in Tomsk, Russia last year with police officers back to catch it before it was released back into the wild.
The weeks-old cub can be seen falling out of the tree and running through undergrowth before it is finally captured and placed in a small rescue cage.
Local media said that emergency workers are also hoping for heavy rains but weather forecasts predict the next downpour will not be for 10 days.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia in Amur Oblast region on 14th July saying: “In the Amur region, a regional emergency regime was introduced in the forests.
“Since 13th July, in the Amur Region, due to the established dry and windy weather, which contributes to the rapid spread of forest fires, by order of the Governor, an emergency regime has been introduced in the forests of a regional nature.
“According to the State Autonomous Institution of the Amur Region ‘Amur Air Base’, as of 13th July, a high IV class of fire hazard was established in 15 municipalities: Arkharinsk, Blagoveshchensk, Zeysk, Magdagachinsky, Selemdzhinsky, Tyndinsky, Shimanovsky, Belogorsky, Bureysky, Zavitinsky, Oktyabrsky, Romnensky, Seryshevsky, Svobodnensky, Skovorodinsky. Class III fire hazard operates in the Mazanovsky district.”