In a recent video clip that has gone viral, restaurant patrons in Vientiane Capital can be seen calmly continuing their meal despite a raging brushfire outside.
TikTok user Yixim1 is believed to have shared the original clip, which has had netizens in disbelief as they observe the fiery situation.
Nearly fifty people continue to eat their meal at a local riverside sin dart, or Lao barbecue, restaurant while flames rise into the sky just outside.
— The Laotian Times (@LaotianTimes) March 6, 2022
Brushfires along the Mekong River are common during Vientiane’s dry season, with long grasses either set ablaze deliberately to clear land or catching fire in the heat.
Mekong Scrubland Fire Risk in Dry Season
In early 2020, massive fires spread along the Mekong Riverbank, causing plumes of smoke to rise up into the atmosphere. Firefighters spent many hours fighting the fires to get them under control.
Two such fires were recorded that year, with one ending in tragedy as police were alerted by nearby villagers of a body that had been burnt beyond recognition during the aftermath of the fire.
Personal identification documents found near the body appeared to indicate that it was a foreign national. It is unclear whether the fire was the cause of death.
Residents have called upon local authorities to regularly cut long grass and avoid fires as temperatures rise during the middle of the dry season.