Belize City residents - especially those on the Southside - woke up this morning to a blanket of thick smog and the filthy smell of burning garbage. And that's likely because the wind shifted overnight to blow in from the west.
What you were smelling was a bushfire that has been touching at the edge of the city dump for two weeks. Everyone only learned of it this morning when the wind blew the smoke into the City's population center.
This fire is being caused primarily by the persistent hot and dry weather conditions, as well as moderate winds, but the situation is worsened by overgrown bushes on the properties surrounding those sites.
The National Fire Service in a press release today says it has been working with the Belize City Council and the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority to control, contain and prevent all fires surrounding the old Belize City dump site and the new transfer station. They stress that while these fires did not originate at the dump site, there is the ever present danger of them spreading to that site, where the fires would be much more difficult to extinguish.
Today when we went to the dump we didn't see the fire service; we saw a team from Cisco Construction hard at work, with a water tank, and bulldozer trying to put out the fire - which is concentrated right now above the old dump site.
Francis Woods from CISCO told us that the smoke has been affecting his company's headquarters for some time now - and they are trying to effectively snuff it out before it spreads to the larger dump site - which in his words, "would cause weeks of misery for the city."
When he and his team retired this evening, the situation was under control, but they have to keep monitoring because there's heat underneath and flare-ups can easily happen.