The Helotes Volcano: Giant Mulch Pile Continues to Burn.

An 80-feet tall giant pile of wood chip and mulch in Helotes, Texas, dubbed "the Helotes Volcano" has been burning since the day after Christmas 2006!

The fire itself has become a sort of perverse tourist attraction. We drove out to gawk at the scene during a weekend trip to San Antonio, and we had company – other visitors who want to see a real live environmental disaster close up.

It's like looking at a miniature volcano, a vast charred moonscape with stinking smoke billowing out of craters and fissures across its surface. From upwind, it's kind of interesting. From downwind, it's unbearable.

The pile took years to create. It's owned by a private contractor, licensed to dispose of brush and debris cleared to make way for new homes and developments in the fast-growing Hill Country.

With the drought in recent years, though, emergency bans outlawed burning the waste in manageable batches, Mr. Allan said. So the pile grew bigger. And bigger. And bigger.

"Everybody knew it was a problem," he said. The pile grew into a mulch mountain, as tall as an eight-story building, as long as two football fields.

Links: Dallas Morning News | MySA (Image: John Davenport / Express News)

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That miserable pile of mulch has caused allergy problems all across the state, and asthmatics have been affected the worse. I have to take my inhaler at least once or twice a day when I'm outside! And the air is a nasty, cruddy yellowish-grey that obscures the beauty of the landscape.

I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to pile a bunch of rotting mulch ten stories high -- and then was surprised when the heat of decomposition -- but they should be ashamed. So many people are sick because of this thing!

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Okay, obviously I spelled 'Ontario' wrong - but I need you to know I also spelled 'burned' wrong.

I would rather rather wipe the sweat from under an obese man's breasts than use the word 'burnded'.

Please, I ask you all - forgive me.
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