Volunteers carry supplies up Jinyun Mountain on Thursday to help quell the fire in the Beibei district of Chongqing. LI YE/FOR CHINA DAILY
Jinyun Mountain is one of the most popular outdoor areas for Chongqing residents. Located in Wentang Gorge alongside the Jialing River and known for its rosy clouds, the mountain forms a natural barrier with the urban area. In ancient times, it was known as Mount Ba.
The mountain's beautiful scenery has attracted numerous poets and its name has often appeared in their work.
With 96.6 percent forest coverage, the Jinyun Mountain Natural Reserve has a rich diversity of species. It boasts a well-preserved subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest landscape and a relatively stable ecosystem.
The wildfire that broke out in Jinyun on Aug 21 posed a threat to everyone in Chongqing.
Chen Yiyong, who runs a wood carving factory in Beibei, is experienced in using chain saws. He immediately signed up to fell trees after receiving a recruitment notice from the local government. Chen and two workers, who are all in their 40s, collected chain saws and headed to the mountain.
"Beibei is my home area and I must protect it," he said.
Motorcycles took the trio halfway up the mountain, before they climbed for nearly two hours to reach the work site. Their clothes were soaked in sweat.
Chen said: "The fire was getting close, but we were so anxious that we forgot just how tired we were－and also about the heat. We just kept felling trees and tried our best to help build man-made barriers."
Much to their surprise, they were offered cold drinks and even ice cream as well as prompt medical attention on the mountain, thanks to the efforts of volunteers.
"We had nothing to worry about, and more than enough supplies," Chen said.
He added that although the volunteers went to the scene individually, they followed guidance from the rescue headquarters.
A chain of volunteers passes supplies up Jinyun Mountain on Thursday. [Photo/China Daily]
"Solidarity is power. We can conquer everything if we unite," Chen said.
Chongqing, a traditional industrial powerhouse, is famed for its auto industry and is known as the motorcycle capital of China. One of the few major motorcycle-friendly cities nationwide, it hosts an annual national motorcycle trade fair, which attracts riders from across the country.
Faced with the steep mountain and unpaved roads, Chongqing motorcyclists played a key role in transporting firefighters and supplies.
Carrying bamboo baskets on their backs, they were nicknamed "the bamboo basket riders." Most of them－men in their 20s－came from different walks of life, such as delivery riders, businessmen and teachers.
Due to the challenging rescue conditions, most women and those under 18 worked at supply and assembly stations at the foot of the mountain.
They sorted and allocated all kinds of supplies. After the fire was extinguished on Saturday, they went up the mountain to bring down rubbish.
A motorcyclist carries a firefighter up the mountain on Friday. TANG YI/XINHUA
Shen Tongcheng, 15, will start high school next month. His father volunteered as a chain saw operator working on the mountain, while Shen and his elder sister started to collect rubbish at the rescue station on Friday.
"I wanted to do something to contribute after I saw some little kids, probably primary school students, collecting rubbish at the rescue station," Chen said.
The outstanding work of the volunteers and the hospitality of local residents impressed the firefighters.
Bai Xueguang, from Gansu Forest Fire Brigade, said, "I never imagined that I would have popsicles and cold drinks at a fire rescue site."
Zhou Hongyu, from Yunnan Forest Fire Brigade, said every volunteer he met at the scene asked him if he needed anything.
"It was the first time I had taken a motorcycle to reach a fire scene. We really appreciate the locals' hospitality. Their support has been wonderful," Zhou said.
Motorcyclists take supplies to the front line of the fire on Tuesday. [Photo/China Daily]