Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes...sniff sniff.
It happens every year here. Those who farm for a living know only one way to clear the land and that's to burn out the old growth and then plant. Under better conditions, that might work. I'm sure there's some benefits in the ash that remains, perhaps enriching the soil. BUT...it doesn't work when there is a drought going on and there isn't a Plan B to keep the burn under control. Last Friday, there were 3 such burns close together and all 3 quickly because uncontrollable. I looked out my window and thought the entire north side of town was burning! To give you an idea of what it looked like, I have before and after shots.
Here's a picture I took some time ago on a clear day...really picturesque with the houses (such as they are) covering the sides of the hill. We really have the best view of the entire building! On nice clear days you can see forever.
But when a fire occus, it's not as nice and clear as this. During the burning season, there is usually some smoke in the air but never as bad as the photo on the below. There's a bonus in the second picture. About an hour before we noticed the smoke in the air, the yellow bus in the picture was driving down the street and his brakes failed. He saw the baracade by the building below and decided it would be better to hit that than to crash into the car in front of him. I'm not sure just how fast he was going because the traffic on La Paz is pretty steady. I doubt he was going more than 20-25 miles an hour. Good for the passengers on the bus and good for the small baracade! Fortunately, there were no in injuries. Unfortunately, it wasn't that way where one of the fires was burning. It was on the top of one of the many peaks that surround the city and there is a ginormous statue of Christ. In the nearby vicinity is a small zoo or animal reserve of some kind. Some of the animals died in the fire. I doubt it will send the message that it should...stop burning the fields...on a windy day...with no Plan B!
The air cleared up fairly well by the next day but there were still bits of charred 'stuff' raining down, probably corn stalks. It better rain soon...we're running out of water! Fortunately, my cistern (the water storage for water used in my home) is huge and I haven't run out of water but others are. The trucks that the embassy sends out can only service 4 houses a day, since they have to go and fill up and then go to the house and wait as it fills the cistern. That takes time...lots of time. The advice being handed out...check your cistern every day and call when it gets low, not when it's empty!!