a few days ago, our apartment filled with smoke. it smelled rank and nasty and, well, smoky.
it's not abnormal for people to burn their trash, but this was a little bit extreme. we closed all of the windows and doors and had to open them right back up again - dying of smoke inhalation and foul smell was preferible to roasting to death in a closed apartment in the middle of june. in the carribbean.
after a while, i guess the wind changed, and while the smoke hazed over the street, it wasn't nearly as unbearable as it had been earlier. i looked to the west for the usual culprits - an empty lot, about 200 meters big, routinely burned to get rid of trash and weeds. nothing.
so i went up on the roof and looked around. an entire field was on fire.
burning is common here - it rids empty fields of un-wanted undergrowth and allows growth to the plants we want (tubers, vegetables, etc...).it is also not unusual for people to use empty lots as trash dumps because of the scarcity of public services. burning gets rid of the garbage quickly without having to do much work. it also produces nasty smelling smoke for the neighbors, but, hey! you win some, you lose some.
apparently, the fire got out of the control of the burn-ers and took over the entire field, instead of just the square patch they were supposed to burn.
they were able to cut open a water pipe in the street (welcome to the DR!) and redirect the water to cool the fire down. it was smoky for awhile, but everyrthing worked out in the end~!