A married couple and their 20-year-old son went to the Tomsk region over the weekend to pick berries. After losing their way, the three "chopped down birch trees and laid out the word 'SOS' in Russian with the white trunks," said the Emergency Ministry in a statement issued Thursday.
The SOS was noticed by an Emergency Ministry M-16 pilot Tuesday who rescued the family, who up until then "had to eat berry and pinecone concoctions to survive," the statement added.
While the family survived for days in the woods alone, RIA Novosti reported wildfires continued to rage throughout Tomsk. By Wednesday, seven out of 29 had been extinguished, however bears and other wildlife have been forced out of the woods and into residential areas.
"Animals like people. Imagine a village hit by fire," said Alexander Adam, head of the regional natural resources watchdog. "One of the residents' homes burns down, so he searches for a place to live. He asks the neighbors to let him in. It's called internal migration. The mammal needs to find a home as the winter approaches."