It is summer here, high in the Andes Mountains near Quito, Ecuador.
As the morning sun rose over the Eastern mountains, it highlighted the layer of smoke that hung over town in the valley below me.
The weather has been hot and dry. The trees are still green; but, the grass below is ripe for incineration. Despite this, in this tinderbox, people still burn trash, dead leaves, etc.
Yesterday, above the Guayasamin tunnel, between Quito and Cumbaya, firefighters fought grass fires on the mountainside. A blaze in Tumbaco, nearby, covered the area with heavy smoke. Throughout the day and night, the smell crept up the valley walls to my home; at times, making breathing difficult. Municipal water in my area was not available for two days, reportedly due to a dry reservoir.
Now, as I stand on my terrace, the sun is shining, breezes have cleared away the smoke from most of the valley; and, it is another beautiful summer day. In the distance, almost 100 km away, the snow on the top of the Cotopaxi Volcano is, again, visibly bright white.
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