Blaze and glory: brilliant photos of China's mountain firefighters on the frontlines
By, Published: 2015-08-17 13:55:32
Forest firefighter Yang Xiaohui struggles to extinguish a blaze in Xichang, Sichuan Province on March 8, 2015. A new recruit, Yang recently completed his first year with the local forestry corps, which is a branch of the armed police. Photo: CFP
Editor's Note:
Firefighter turned journalist Cheng Xueli recently returned to the dense forests of Southwest China's Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture to capture these stunning images of his former comrades fighting wildfires from the frontlines. During his eight years of service, Cheng faced a total 105 blazes in the remote mountain region; experiences that he says tempered him to face danger and become a "real man."

Two firefighters brave a blaze in Xichang, Sichuan Province on March 8, 2015. It is very common for firefighters to suffer minor burns on their faces, which quickly make young recruits appear older than their age. Photo: CFP
Firefighters work to stop a fire from spreading in Xichang, Sichuan Province on March 8, 2015. Photo: CFP
Yang Xiaohui asks a fellow soldier to spray water on his face to cool down in Xichang, Sichuan Province on March 8, 2015. Refreshed and recharged, Yang rushed back to continue fighting the blaze. Photo: CFP
A fellow firefighter inspects Yang Xiaohui's singed left eyebrow after the fire was extinguished on March 8, 2015. Photo: CFP
A firefighter eats a hard-earned meal after extinguishing a large forest fire in Xichang, Sichuang Province on April 19, 2014. The fire took three days and nights of constant work to extinguish. Photo: CFP
Firefighters rest in the forest after extinguishing a blaze on February 16, 2014 in Mianning county, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. Their hands were blackened by the fire. Photo: CFP
Firefighters man water pumps and carry a hose during a drill in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, according to on April 16, 2015. The area was at high fire risk amid a streak of dry weather and high temperatures, making such drills even more necessary. A large-scale fire fighting drill was held in April across 500 kilometers, including seven counties and cities. Photo:
Firefighters extinguish a controlled fire during a drill. Photo:
Firefighters use drones to detect fires during a drill. Photo: