Montana firefighters save mountain lion cubs

By By Shelby Lin Erdman CNN
Published On: Sep 01 2014 09:54:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 02 2014 03:54:47 AM CDT

Bitterroot National Forest Helitack

(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.

"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 percent contained, the Facebook posting reported, adding that investigators have determined it was likely caused by humans.

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