Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cambridge Bay's dump fires

In case you haven't been following the news, Iqaluit's dump has been on fire for weeks, even months, and nothing - absolutely nothing - has worked in putting it out.  It's gone out four times, but has managed to come back to life every time, like some horror movie zombie garbage monster that is born out of a giant volcano. It doesn't help that the water trucks that would be used to put the fire out also need to be used to deliver water to the homes of residents in Iqaluit.  It also doesn't help that there just is a lot of garbage to burn, since the city's population has tripled in fifteen years without the waste management plan necessarily catching up.

I can't help but be reminded of a few years back when there was a huge garbage strike in Toronto, and all of the trash piled up to the heights of basketball nets, forming mountains and mountains of human waste in the parks and yards and streets, culminating in that one day when it began to storm, and the rain washed the garbage down the streets of Toronto, like some modern-day eleventh plague sent down from the heavens to punish Toronto for whatever Toronto did to deserve a garbage river. Now we have Part II: the Dumpcano of Iqaluit (the Toronto of the north).

Dumpcano even has its own Twitter account:

At this point, Dumpcano has won and the fire crew has decided to quit fighting it, hoping that it will burn itself out in hopefully less than a few months.

the Cambridge Bay dump fire

Well, it's always sunny in Cambridge Bay.  Not just because we get 24 hours of sunlight compared to Iqaluit's measly 20, but also because all of our dump fires are generally intentionally started.

We had a number of boxes of paper to dispose of last week, so we brought them out to the dump to burn them. This was pretty much my favourite thing I've ever done as part of my job.

The dump fires here are carefully watched by the dump supervisor, who sits and watches you from his truck. If you have trouble lighting the fire, he'll come over to help you.  Which is kind of a cool job perk.

Luckily we had this to start our fire

There's something incredibly therapeutic about watching a fire burn. Especially a giant pile of paper. I guess it's why we like to sit around a camp fire and watch it like it's a television. It's just so immensely satisfying to watch the patterns and shapes that form in the fire, like art, but really, really, really destructive art.

I should note that I am wearing only a tank top in the photo, not because it's so warm outside, but because the fire was really hot. Yes, fire is hot.

 jaw bones

Burning things at the dump was pretty fun, like a campfire, except when I went home I smelled like garbage, rather than wood fires.  Also, I had a tan.