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Firefighters come to the rescue of a pair of mountain lion cubs

By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN
updated 10:53 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Jared Chandler and Sara Steele cuddle two mountain lions cubs saved from the fire. They were found under a burning log.
Jared Chandler and Sara Steele cuddle two mountain lions cubs saved from the fire. They were found under a burning log.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bitterroot National Forest firefighters spot mountain lion cubs under burning log
  • Tiny cubs are just 1 to 2 weeks old and faced certain death in burning forest
  • Wildlife officials will decide whether they can eventually be returned to the wild

(CNN) -- Two Montana firefighters dressed in their bright yellow firefighting gear stand smiling broadly, each cuddling what looks like a blackened and charred chunk of wood.

That's not charred wood they're holding but a pair of mountain lion cubs they saved from the Three Mile Fire in the Bitterroot National Forest east of Florence, Montana.

Firefighters spotted the kittens under a burning log Friday afternoon, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in a Facebook posting.

The cubs are between 1 and 2 weeks old. They\'re both males and are at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Helena.
The cubs are between 1 and 2 weeks old. They're both males and are at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Helena.
It\'s unclear whether the baby cats can eventually return to the wild. Officials will decide that later.
It's unclear whether the baby cats can eventually return to the wild. Officials will decide that later.

"Firefighters called in a helicopter bucket drop to douse the log and the kittens" with water, CNN affiliate KTVQ reported on Friday.

Firefighters were then able to save the young cats from death in the burning forest.

The tiny cubs, between 1 and 2 weeks old, are both males and are at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Helena, the agency said.

It's unclear at this time whether the cats can be returned to the wild eventually. There's also no word on what happened to the mother cat.

The almost 50-acre Three Mile Fire is 100% contained, the Facebook posting reported, adding that investigators have determined it was likely caused by humans.

Dave Alsup contributed to this story.

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