September 18th, 2007. Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Chiyoda. Taken by R-G. M.
As I bicycled past a rice paddy just a few hundred metres from my home, I had to stop when I noticed the dry cut rice stems burning unchecked. Someone had lit the pile of dry husks and left without bothering any further. Obviously the fire caught the very dry straw covering the field and was dangerously approaching a parked tractor and a hay stack only a metre away from private property.
I asked nighbours to call the fire brigade, the police or the owner of the field. Everyone escaped saying, « I don’t know », « I can’t help you » or « None of my business ».
I was becoming really worried as the tempearture of the day exceded 30 degrees with a dry breeze blowing.
Fortunately a retired man in his van stopped too. We did not lose any further time and started stomping on the flames. But we coulkd not extinguish the pile of dry husks and fire was regularly catching again.
My companion finally managed to find the owner of the paddy over his cell phone and a middle-aged woman came to help us douse the lot with water taken in buckets from the ditch running behing the field.
She asked my name. I replied it was ok and to be careful. About time I made myself scarce.