Firefighters Work to Protect Villages in Eastern Ukraine as Wildfires Kill at Least 9 People

Wildfires in eastern Ukraine have claimed the lives of at least nine people and left some 17 people hospitalized, as authorities tackle nearly 150 separate blazes in the region of Luhansk, according to local reports.

In a statement, the country’s emergency services said that 120 people were evacuated from villages in Luhansk. More than 2,500 first responders are involved in fighting the fires, according to government figures.

Local authorities say they are investigating the cause of several fires that began near a front line between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

As of October 2, the fires have burned some 13,000 hectares (about 50 square miles), according to the Ukrainian government. Credit: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty via Storyful