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Photograph: Google maps / Screenshot

A firefighting plane with a crew of 10 went missing while battling a blaze Friday in the Siberian region of Irkutsk, according to Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry.

Contact with the Il-76 plane was lost around 6:30 am (2230 GMT), the statement said. About 300 rescue workers were deployed to search for the crew, state news agency TASS reported.

Firefighters have been battling the blaze and many others throughout the region for days. The ministry's Siberian Regional Centre announced Friday that the "situation is gradually stabilizing."

In recent years, relatively hotter summers in Siberia and the Russian Far East have been severely drying out the land and creating prime conditions for wildfires.

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