Those eerie fires were for a reason. This came as a relief as we weren't relishing the idea of hopping over street fires every night on our way home. Apparantly, we arrived just in time for "ghost month". It's similar to our Halloween, sort of, but I guess creepier. There is a certain day or days within this timeframe when the spirits come to lay claim to whatever they want. To appease the evil spirits, and to provide for deceased loved ones, fake money, cars, houses (?), etc. are burnt as an offering. So, this is what those fires were about. I certainly didn't do this justice, so for more complete info follow this link: Ghost Festival on Wikipedia
Um yeah, that does a MUCH better job explaining it. Enjoy!