11 July 2024

Thirty-seven protected forests, including several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, have been declared off-limits to outsiders without prior permission to enter, as the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation ramps up its efforts to reduce bushfires and ease airborne pollution as the dry season approaches.

The department’s director-general, Atthaphon Charoenchansa, said yesterday that the department has set a target to reduce forest fires this coming dry season to half those of last summer, to ease the problem of PM2.5 pollution.

Park officials in 17 northern and several other provinces in the north-eastern and central regions, which are prone to forest fires, have been instructed to take precautionary steps, including a “door-knocking” measure, visiting villagers with previous records of causing forest fires, to warn them that they will face harsh penalties if they commit the same offences this year.

Checkpoints have also been tightened up to screen villagers wanting to enter protected forests to search for forest products, to make sure that they have prior permission to do so.

Some of the forests to be closed include Khao Khiao-Khao Chompoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Doi Luang National Park, Lam Nam Kok National Park, Doi Pha Chang Wildlife Sanctuary, Salawin National Park, Phu Hin Rongkla National Park, Thung Salaeng Luang National Park and Mae Charim Wildlife Sanctuary.