Forks and Jets

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Why is Mexico Burning?

March 31, 2009 Mexico

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With only three and half weeks in Mexico, and such a gigantic, diverse country to see, we end up on the road a lot. One of the most bizarre phenomena, aside from the ubiquitous dogs, roadside memorials and flame-roasted chicken stands is the constant presence of smoke and fire.

On the side of the road, inches from the highway, fires burn pouring smoke across the roadways. Above towns, entire hilltops rage with flames, without any spectators to give it much mind. Fields lay torched and black. Sometimes, in the smoke we can see one lone person watching the burn, and sometimes, no one is there.

Mexico is hot and largely dry — the earth is covered with a thick coating of dry brush and dead leaves in the more tropical areas. Not unlike California, Mexico seems to be under the threat of rampant wildfires plundering the countryside. Clearing crop fields and garbage are obvious explanations, but sometimes whole hillsides which don’t appear to be farmland are just blazing. Sometimes, we have to drive inches from the fires.

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