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Over 20,000 People Devoted to Extinguishing Fires in Chongqing

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|Aug 27,2022

Chongqing- Over a thousand firefighters from sister provinces joined Chongqing to fight local forest fires due to the continuous extreme high-temperature weather. As of August 26 morning, all open fires have been put out, according to a press conference on August 26. 

The front line of the Jinyun Mountain fire

The front line of the Jinyun Mountain fire, Beibei District, Chongqing. (Visual Chongqing/ Long Fan)

Firefighters from sister provinces supporting Chongqing

This year, Chongqing experienced a record-breaking amount of high temperatures and droughts, according to an official from the Chongqing Emergency Management Bureau. “As of yesterday, the duration of high-temperature weather exceeding 40 degrees has reached 15 days, eight days more than in 2006.” 

In Chongqing, forest fires have been burning since August 17. Fires have been occurring in many places continuously.

To perform scientific rescues, the government of Chongqing organized emergency, firefighting, and other relevant departments. Together with Chongqing, firefighters from Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces united to combat the Chongqing forest fires. More than 20,000 people, from professional rescue teams to social volunteers, have joined the operation. 

Equipped firefighters rushed to the point of the forest fire.

Equipped firefighters scrambled and went up the mountain at night to fight the fire. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

“The main rescue difficulty is that the temperature continues to be high, resulting in the outbreak of multiple fires, and the mountain topography is complex, wildly different from Yunnan Province,” said Zhang Zhenlin, deputy director of the Political Department of the Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade.

Li Jiang, the instructor of the Second Squadron of the Maerkang Brigade of the Aba Detachment at the Sichuan Forest Fire Brigade, said, during the process of extinguishing the fire, his team put out the fire during the day, and investigated the fire site at night, leading the fighting team.

Yang Jianjun, squadron leader of the Chongqing Garrison Team of the Gansu Forest Fire Corps, said his team is from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. In the ambient temperature of more than 40 degrees, firefighters had to wear full protective clothing, and many of them got heat rash, but they still completed the task.

Fighting fire with fire

On the night of August 25, at Jinyun Mountain, people fought fire with fire.

On the night of August 25, at Jinyun Mountain, people fought fire with fire. (Visual Chongqing/ Qi Lansen)

At 9 pm on August 25, Jinyun Mountain, Beibei District, defeated the fire by “fighting fire with fire,” also known as the “backburning” tactic. Many big forestry countries often use this tactic to deal with forest fires, which saves time and effort with a thorough effect.

Volunteers formed a chain to transfer materials at the fire isolation zone in Jinyun Mountain on Aug 25.

Volunteers formed a chain to transfer materials at the fire isolation zone in Jinyun Mountain on August 25. (Visual Chongqing/ Long Fan)

The key to this forest fire fighting process is using science and technology. “We use drones to conduct a comprehensive survey of the fire site and formulate the next plan,” Yang explained. “We also use night vision devices to survey fire sites and protect personnel safety.”

By taking advantage of shifting winds and changing landscapes, fire chiefs attempt to burn an area before a fire reaches it, preventing it from gaining fuel.

Thousands of flashlights flashed, and nearly 2,000 people formed a defense line, a narrow fire isolation belt combined with mechanical equipment. Through orderly organization, the fire was blocked out in only 3 hours.

Volunteers participated in assisting work

“When we were on the front line, the motorcycle drivers were still transporting supplies to the mountains at 1 am,” said Yang. “They moved us.”

Videos about the Chongqing forest fire spread virally online, with volunteers on mountain motorbikes carrying supplies to the peak.

Volunteers on mountain motorbikes carrying supplies to the peak.

Volunteers on mountain motorbikes carrying supplies to the peak. (iChongqing file photo)

Zhang said vehicles could not pass through the exclusion zone. Thanks to Chongqing citizens’ motorcycles, firefighters were transported to the front line, significantly improving firefighting efficiency, which is the key to victory.

“What we feel here is not that our team is fighting the fire but that the whole Chongqing people are fighting with us,” he said.

“The task was challenging, but what we were most impressed with was the warmth of the people of Chongqing after the firefight,” Zhang said. “I would love to share this with my family, and I believe they will be happy to visit Chongqing and feel the beauty of the mountain city and the enthusiasm of the Chongqing people.”

The Jinyun Mountain fire has been put out

The Jinyun Mountain fire has been put out. (iChongqing file photo)

(Zhu Qinzhuo, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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