Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense – Fire!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense
 “Grab an image from your world that holds the promise or portent of the future.”

It’s summer and dry season in Panama. Brush fires are common. While I was away there was one in my favorite field where I often stop to take photos of the mountains, sunsets, trees, and other interesting things.

(photo by Joel)

(photo by Joel)

Even the shrubbery across the street was damaged by the heat.


But, given a couple weeks and a few sprinkles of rain, the future begins to emerge!


This field will be filled with tall green grass swaying in the breezes.


Brush fires are interesting in Panama. In the US, in Florida, all possible measures are taking to prevent fires because they can be so destructive. I think part of the reason that they are so destructive is because when something burns, it probably hasn’t burned for many years. There is so much thick underbrush that the fire has a lot of fuel, so it burns hot and intense and quickly gets out of control. Houses are often made of wood or have many wood components, so homes can easily catch fire and be destroyed.

Here in Panama we are at the end of the dry and windy season. There is evidence of fires everywhere.  But, if things burn more frequently there is less fuel and the fire isn’t as hot. Here, in spite of dry conditions and strong breezes, fires seem to burn themselves out fairly quickly. Perhaps a couple firemen will come and squirt water around the edges to keep it back from roads and homes, but usually people pay little attention to the fire. Homes are made of concrete block, usually with tin roofs so there is little to burn.

I posted some photos a while back of the first brush fire in our neighborhood. I went back the next day and there were areas still smoldering, a couple quite close to a home where the occupants were not home. I spoke with a neighbor who seemed very puzzled that I was concerned –
I am worried. There is a fire today close to that house.
There was a fire yesterday.
Yes I know, but there is more fire today and it’s close to the pink house. The people are not home.
That is from the fire yesterday.
Yes I know, but it is dangerous today and it is close to the pink house today.
(puzzled look) Yes….

I think she finally agreed to keep an eye on the situation so I would go away and stop bothering her.  When I returned a couple days later, of course everything was fine and the pink house was undamaged, including their plastic chairs out front. They man who lives in the shack at the edge of the field also assured me that he was not worried either.

So, when in Rome…. I guess I will stop worrying about fires. They are natures way of cleaning up and getting ready for future growth. The rainy season is due to resume soon, so I’m sure we will see renewal and growth all around us. The greener future will become the present once again.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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12 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense – Fire!

  1. I still think it’s scary, but we need to trust the judgment of those who know, right? I know you are as anxiously awaiting the beginning of the rainy season as I am. Soon..soon.


    • Kris says:

      This change of season has been very interesting and I’ve enjoyed seeing the differences. Even the locals are complaining about the heat though, so it seems everyone will be happy to see the rains come back. But the flowers, fruits, winds, whistling cicadas, and even the fires have been fun and I will miss some of these things.


  2. indacampo says:

    LOL! When I was taking pictures of the Guyacanes trees I also took pictures of a field across the road that had burnt. We’ve had several brush fires in the last several weeks. Unlike where you are we still haven’t had one drop of rain so nothing has begun to grow back yet. When it does I’ll be back for photos. 🙂 I too am looking forward to rainy season and all the fresh greenness it brings!


  3. allig565 says:

    Some fires we saw, yes, were burning without anyone around like you said (they just burn out apparently), while others had the bomberos right there fighting those fires. It gets awfully dry there, and let’s just continue “assuming” they know what they are doing and trusting their judgment just like Rewired wrote.


    • Kris says:

      They seem to manage. I haven’t seen any homes damaged from fire, unless you count the shrubbery pictured above. It’s way different than what we’re used to in the US. If this was going on there half the country would be burned down by now and we would all be totally freaked out!


  4. oldsalt1942 says:

    As I look out the windows of my house there’s green all around. That’s because the trees probably tap down to access the water from the nearby river. The front yard, though, has the color of Cheerios and it crunches when you walk across it lately. But we had a couple of hours of rain at night earlier in the week and now 2/3 of the lawn sprang back to its green color. This stuff isn’t grass like we’re familiar with in the States, but it’s indigenous and adapted to the extreme conditions here. I also call it the “season of black rain,” because of the ash that falls from the brush fires.


    • Kris says:

      Isn’t it amazing how it rains even just a little and overnight suddenly everything looks greener. We haven’t had much black rain but it certainly smelled smoky here last night, so something must have been burning nearby.


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