Burn notice

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Right now Zambia is in the midst of the burn season. The air is crisp and dry, the grasses and brush are brittle and yellowed, and the winds blow relentlessly, so of course this is the best possible time to strike a match and send a wall of flame roaring toward your house. (A house which, I might add, is covered with more of that same dried grass. How convenient.)

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Although accidental brush fires do cause a lot of damage to fields and even communities when they spread out of control, most burning is planned. As any novice forester/agriculturalist can tell you, this annual purging is necessary for clearing out clutter and thereby preventing larger, more damaging fires from occurring later, as well as for adding nutrients back to the soil to increase fertility for the next cycle of crops.

And on a less technical note, burn season also means lots of small-hand-and-feet-warming stations throughout the village to prevent against the early morning chill, a surreal pink haze lazily blanketing the landscape and coating your lungs throughout the day, and spectacular light displays in the late evenings.

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